TWO years ago Sydney indie-pop band I Know Leopard reached a potential powder keg moment.
Frontman Luke O'Loughlin and bassist Rosie Fizgerald - who was married - had fallen in love, and despite initially suppressing their feelings, they eventually began a relationship.
It created turmoil in their personal lives and threatened to implode the four-piece just two EPs into their career and just as O'Loughlin was writing what he hoped would be their debut album.
However, both the relationship and I Know Leopard have endured and strengthened. O'Loughlin channelled the tension into Land Is A Landmine, the band's '70s soft rock-inspired debut.
"While we were making the album there was trauma going down in some of our personal lives," O'Loughlin said. "It was painful, but the music was therapy.
"Also reflecting on it now, it has had a calming effect on me and Rosie. Before Rosie and I got together, I was dealing with a lot of pain in heartbreak from romantic failures and relationship breakdowns.
"I had experienced a lot of it and I was really scared to venture out into the world to seek out new love and it was almost like venturing out onto a minefield. I didn't want to venture out and step on a landmine.
"This whole process of Rosie and I coming together, we were apprehensive to commit to it, but I'm glad we did as it was really healing for the both of us."
O'Loughlin scrapped two batches of songs before settling on the 10 tracks which feature on Love Is A Landmine. The inspiration was his mother's record collection he'd grown up listening to in the Adelaide Hills.
Her favourite albums featured '70s classics from Electric Light Orchestra, 10cc, Toto and John Lennon.
"Those sounds, arrangements and progressions and melodies from that era in the late '70s and early '80s, it's all so rich and emotive," he said. "That's always stuck with me.
"Those influences have always been with me, even in the earlier stuff with I Know Leopard. This time we've just decided to wear it on our sleeves for everyone to see."
I Know Leopard's album tour hits the Cambridge Hotel on May 30.