Cut Off Your Hands on saying goodbye with a new album

After fifteen years, beloved Kiwi indie band Cut Off Your Hands are calling it a day.

Frontman Nick Johnston says it's not burnout or bust-up's, it's just time to draw the line in the sand.

"For me it's quite exciting. I like not overdoing things, or hanging round past my welcome," he told Newshub.

They're not dragging themselves to the finish line or leaving fans empty-handed. Instead, they're going out with a bang with some final shows, and, unusually, a brand new album.

HLLH is their third album, and their first in nine years. It's a long way from their early jangly indie-pop days, instead of taking its influences from artists like Talking Heads and Grace Jones.

Johnston says he was happy to record the album on the band's terms.

"It's nonchalance in a sense. But all from passion, so we're doing it for the love. We adore the music and we adore playing together."

But the breakup means gigs next week in Auckland and Wellington are the only opportunities for fans to hear all the new songs live.

"As soon as we had the album in the bag late last year, we kind of knew we'd be looking for a good time to find the right shows to finish on," Johnston says.

The band's already played one Auckland show on their run to the finish line earlier this month, and the fans' reactions helped reinvigorate older songs like "Turn Cold."

"I think I just got super surprised when I went to sing the first verse, and everybody sang it back to me. It was like 'well I can give my voice a break now, you guys have got this!'"

The final shows will have an expanded line-up with appearances from former members. And it'll have plenty of surprises from across their catalogue, including some songs the band hasn't played for twelve years.

"That's fun for us, rotating through that and getting back into that headspace. We were quite a different band!"

But Johnston says he's unlikely to bring back too much of the onstage acrobatics that once led to him breaking his foot.

"I used to just dive headfirst into the audience but now I'm all like 'oh, I might hurt somebody, I don't want to hurt these people, they're lovely!' But I did sort of still flail about [at the earlier show], and I must've done something to my cruciate ligament or something because I'm still hobbling to work!" he says.

The band's early days were full of relentless global touring and buzz. Johnston recalls recording music in the same studio once used by Led Zeppelin, an interview with NME in Manhattan on his 22nd birthday, and festivals in Iceland.

But it all took its toll on the band's mental and physical health.

"I just couldn't listen to music for maybe at one stage like six months without some sort of anxiety or panic attack," he explains.

Johnston says the slower change of pace has suited them well.

"It went from being the hugest priority, that we just wanted to throw everything in and everything else was compromised, for all our relationships, to like 'nah, I wanna do life now.'"

Johnston now works as an architect, and wants to focus more on his own music, and much of the band now have families.

"Life's important, and relationships are important, and music's really important but it just sits in its place now in our life. It's much more balanced," he says.

So if you want one last singalong and dance, you've got just two more chances before Cut Off Your Hands cut the cord for good.