Sideways to New Italy // Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Reviewed: 28/06/2020

Rating: 0.6 // 10

Genres: Indie-Rock

Released: 05/06/2020, Sub Pop

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever return with their sophomore effort, a somewhat middling entry into their discography of plain and simple indie-rock that scratches the itch but offers nothing new.

Australian Indie-Rock outfit Rolling Blackouts C.F. hark back to a sound and scene that came way before them with their stereotypical sound, but to turn your nose up at the band’s efforts would be snide considering it certainly isn’t bad.

In fact, if you were, or still are, a big fan of that sound, you certainly won’t regret checking out this project. It is 39 minutes of fun, simple indie-rock that whilst it doesn’t leave the biggest of impressions, is an overall pleasant experience.

The opening track The Second of the First starts with acoustic and electric guitars fighting for the spotlight, bolstering a high-energy start to the record.

With three singer-guitarists in the band there is plenty of opportunities for harmonisation, with a clear example on the second track, Falling Thunder.

The opening few tracks of the album have that indie-rock enthusiasm reminiscent of the UK scene in the 00s, but that soon mellows out on the track Beautiful Steven. It has an almost washed out quality to the sound, and a far slower energy and feel to both the instruments and the delivery.

Into the middle section of the album, where some new instruments are brought into the mix, starting with the harmonica on the track The Only One. On the following track, Cars In Space, the faster pacing is matched with some uptempo horns that really plays into the summer feel of the album.

Towards the end of the track listing the songs start to wind down into a more soft and laidback sound, with the more standout Sunglasses at the Wedding, but in the process creating largely unforgettable tracks in the form of Not Tonight and The Cool Change.

Overall this comes across as music for the summer that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and whilst there is nothing wrong with that approach, it lacks any substance to make it noteworthy beyond its genre.

Compared to their previous efforts there isn’t really any innovation in terms of sound or approaching new ideas and sounds with anything more than a half-hearted glance.

Yes, whilst it does slightly pale in comparison to their earlier work, to go as far as to say it is bad or a waste would be disingenuous.

Hopefully the band learns from this and can evolve their sound properly in their next offering.

Track Listing

  • The Second of the First (B)
  • Falling Thunder (B-)
  • She’s There (C)
  • Beautiful Steven (C+)
  • The Only One (B-)
  • Cars In Space (B)
  • Cameo (C)
  • Not Tonight (C-)
  • Sunglasses at the Wedding (C+)
  • The Cool Change (C-)

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