REVIEW: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Sideways to New Italy

The Melbourne quintet with the impossible to remember band name is back and if you were a fan of their debut, Hope Downs, it’s likely you’ll dig what they’re doing this time around too because they haven’t strayed far from that original script: this is for the most part urgent propulsive guitar music with sweet vocal sounds courtesy of front man Fran Keaney.

Ah you might be asking, though, what kind of guitar music is it though? Well, on first listen, you’d be forgiven for thinking Rolling Fever Blackouts Coastal sound a bit like War on Drugs. If you went away remembering nothing from this review other than the fact Fever Blackouts Rolling Coastal are like an Aussie War on Drugs I will rest easy at having imparted some wisdom.

This is in no small part due to what Pitchfork call Coastal Rolling Fever Blackout’s “six string calisthenics” courtesy of Tom Russo and Joe White. The first half of the record speeds by in very pleasing fashion – ‘The Second of the First’, ‘Falling Thunder’, ‘She’s There’, ‘Beautiful Steven’, ‘The Only One’ and ‘Cars in Space’ are all first listen beauts. The songs aren’t memorable (I defy you to play this record once and whistle anything) but they are pleasant.

As you dig deeper you get a whiff of The Go Betweens and Smudge, of the Bunnymen and Orange Juice (particularly on ‘Cameo’), and you start to think Coastal Blackout Fever Rolling are a bit like The Dears: in thrall to their influences, more than capable when it comes to fashioning a pleasing riff, and unlikely, in the great scheme of things, to carve a place for themselves as the kind of band they so obviously love themselves. In other words: derivative but inoffensive.

Words by Pete Wild

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