Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Photo: McLean Stephenson

It’s a band that’s here to stay. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever formed in 2013. It took three years before they released an EP and now, five years into their existence, their debut album is out. We have no idea whether this happened intentionally or not, but it accounts for the accomplished sound they had from the start and it suggests they are not going to vanish soon.

RBCF are based in Melbourne and unsurprisingly display a quality that, for reasons unknown to us, makes so many Australian pop groups so great: They take musical ingredients that everybody has known for years and everybody would stifle a yawn over if encountered on their own … and then they go and throw them all together in an absolutely unique, fascinating, and unheard-of way. The band have been on our radar since their second EP, the 2017-released French Press. Its title song was one of the most gloriously hypnotic guitar pop offerings from that year:

RBCF are cousins Fran Keaney and Joe White (guitar & voice), brothers Tom (guitar & voice) and Joe Russo (bass), and Marcel Tussie (drums). The band are in a comfortable position of having three singers/guitarists/songwriters in their ranks. Given that unusual constellation, it’s surprising how tight, unique and yet homogeneous the album sounds.

There’s an incredible, steam-train drive to most of the songs. Especially for the first four tracks, this is due to an acoustic guitar that’s played almost toneless, but fast – it sounds like a part of the drumkit, like an additional hi-hat (most prominent on „Time In Common“). The grand songwriting places them firmly in the Forster/McLennan league (to make things a little more confusing: try listening to „How Long“ back to back with „Sometimes Accidentally“ by The Goon Sax and not draw conclusions …): lyrically devoted to allowing glimpses of the more major themes of life through very tangible, specific perspectives, musically catchy but with lots and lots of barbs and meanderings. That may make them a band to never make it (commercially), but boy, are they a joy to listen to! The album is sure to end up in our top 10 of 2018.

Hope Downs was released in June 2018 on SubPop:


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