Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Hope Downs


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
June 23rd, 2018 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Keeping guitar rock on life support.

It’s a beautiful sound when everything comes together. On 2016’s Talk Tight, Australian guitar fetishists Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever already had it all figured out. That EP was a rocket shot straight out of early ‘80s college radio, all jittery and jangly. Last year’s The French Press doubled down on the caffeine angle with better, sharper songs, the jams unfurling out slightly longer, the lyrics more agitated. Hope Downs, then, is less of a proper debut than a fully formed mission statement. The interplay between Fran Keaney’s, Tom Russo’s, and Joe White’s guitars and alternately shouted and mumbled vocals is not a meticulous ménage a trois but a gorgeous country road pile-up. On “Mainland,” the guitars circle around each other like uneasy pack animals before feasting, ravenously, on the kind of guitar solo that was laid to rest long ago by American indie rock. That the lyrics disguise Russo’s disgust with upper-middle class entitlement and the disillusionment of privileged youth with what appears to be a celebration of the simple pleasures of summer reveal a songwriting talent honed to a fine point. “Talking Straight’s” vicious, increasingly frantic guitar lines, meanwhile, only embellish singer White’s pervasive anxieties: “Lay back, sink in, I’m right, this is sin, come around, give in” is one of the bleaker summer jams out there. As an anthem – which “Talking Straight” undeniably is – it is revelatory.

Hope Downs is not some landmark turning point for RBCF; “Talking Straight” is practically indistinguishable from anything on the EPs, and the album as a whole still retains that ramshackle verve the group is known for. There’s a helluva lot you can do with three guitars, but on the whole those things tend to sound the same over an album’s length. Where the record succeeds, however, is in keeping that youthful sense of perpetual motion and sharp wit unflagging throughout ten tightly wound tracks. Some are more successful than others; the minor key lilt in closer “Hammer” is less effective than the band thinks it is, and opener “An Air Conditioned Man’s” frenetic energy and rambling lyricism tend to exhaust, if not entirely dissipate, by the end of its five minutes. But then you come across what happens from “Sister’s Jeans” to “Exclusive Grave,” a run of melodies that had me cursing the Pitchforkian gods for having this band come up in 2018 rather than 2004, where the propulsive, whip-smart “Bellarine” would have been at the top of every buzz blog recounting the glory days of ‘80s alternative rock. “Exclusive Grave,” in particular, sounds like the utopian ideal of an RBCF song, its elastic, addictive guitar riff providing a stable counterpoint to an unusually impressionistic lyric. It builds up in increments, the guitars finding new angles to explore until they all coalesce into a beehive of white noise. It’s a wonderful bit of tension that revels in the air-guitar indulging that RBCF tend to incubate in their listeners. And then it resolves right back into the original motif, a graceful landing that belies the group’s unkempt reputation. It’s the sound of musicians that know exactly what they want to be. That RBCF already perfected their sound, three records in, has me giddy for the future.




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user ratings (60)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2018


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Exclusive Grave" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPWErEsf7O0



and also "Talking Straight" because Soundcloud Go sucks - [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj5tH-6vNKY/url]

Chambered79
June 23rd 2018


146 Comments


I dig your avatar

Papa Universe
June 23rd 2018


18106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

couldn't really make it out from your review, how post-punk are they and is that tag adequate?

Digging: Selvans - Faunalia

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2018


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i wouldn't call them very post-punk but tbh that descriptor doesn't really mean anything to me these days

WatchItExplode
June 23rd 2018


6019 Comments


Massive two graph klap review must check

Digging: Four Stroke Baron - Planet Silver Screen

EaglesBecomeVultures
June 24th 2018


5529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didn't think this would be your thing klappadonna; love these guys

schoonda
June 24th 2018


1427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

These guys are so sick. Really glad this got a review.

Digging: colourblind - Move Like You

nukethewhale
June 24th 2018


134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The Hammer is great idk what you're talking about

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2018


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i like the Hammer, think it just doesn't match most of the songs here. AC Man is the worst track imo tho

Kiran
Emeritus
June 25th 2018


6027 Comments


Here for the riffs

RadicalEd
June 25th 2018


9393 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Swell Review. Exclusive Grave is cool. Will check.

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2018


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

#rare kirgasm appearance

robin
Emeritus
June 25th 2018


4522 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

album is the greatest

ButtBoy
June 26th 2018


973 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not a fan of the spoken-word parts, but everything else is great.

Also what is that name? it sounds like 4 random words strung together unless I'm missing something

SitarHero
June 27th 2018


7188 Comments


I was not expecting to enjoy this, yet somehow I am.

tom79
June 27th 2018


3651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Diggin this. A bit like Real Estate, but Australian and more up beat.

wwf
June 29th 2018


6170 Comments


The guitar layering is really pleasant on this but the way the drums sound is oddly distracting for me

It's so clicky in the high frequencies

The tambourines and the acoustics add to it quite a bit too

Digging: Illuminati Hotties - Kiss Yr Frenemies

WatchItExplode
June 29th 2018


6019 Comments


This ish jangly and vintage sounding. It's nice.

tom79
July 9th 2018


3651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Been jamming this like everyday for the past week. Perfect summer music.

Kiran
Emeritus
July 10th 2018


6027 Comments


Me and you both Tom my man



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