After two critically praised EPs (Talk Tight and The French Press), Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever make their debut, releasing Hope Downs on June 15th. This first full album features ten songs showing a fresh, impressive mix of melodic propulsion and, at the same time, strong jangling versatility. If it is not common for the listener to bump into a quasi-radio-goldmine, imagine how should it be writing and recording one.
The Australian quintet’s rock-pop distinctive trademark relies on the three alternating singing voices (Mainland, the first released song, is their teamwork manifesto) combined with an elective affinity towards style contamination. The lyrics are not always consistent, although evocative, sarcastic and at times giving voice to a particular form of protest.
An Air Conditioned Man writes the first page of a genuinely catchy story, lead by powerful bass traction. In a scene where the familiar becomes unknown, recalling that estranged sensation you can feel when a daily used word, for an instant, loses its connection to what it names.
RBCF’s dear or darkest places are there, linking scattered points along their home island. Traveling south from Sydney Road, a major artery in Melbourne mentioned in Sister’s Jeans, to the peninsula giving its name to Bellarine. Finally, flying west to peek from the clouds into a mesmerizing, middle-of-nowhere open air mine, maybe like the one inspiring the very title of this album.
Talking Straight is bare energy, carrying you away until the final guitar solo, with the drums pumping up great rhythm. Taken together with the rapturous Time In Common, a choral piece showing great pace and fast, effective jangle, it is not difficult to see how the potential for first-listen-hits is all there. The album is closed by The Hammer, where the ingenuity of different registers is brought back in a build up of guitar-variety and remarkable drums.
At the first listen you may really like this record, and the following time it is already on loop. While going through the third play, you have missed the bus downtown for the appointment you had. Was it worth the time? You bet it was, and then the count is lost.
Rolling Blackouts C.F. will be touring Europe next month (including a gig at Green Man Festival), North America in August-September and then back to Europe in October-November (with seven more gigs in the U.K.).