Summer’s coming, which means that we must brace ourselves once more for a deluge of new records featuring pretty guitar riffs and nice singing. Getting in there early are Melbourne group Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Their debut LP Hope Downs features more of the sunny jangle-grunge that characterised their buzz-building 2017 EP The French Press. Hit play if you find it uncomfortable to listen to Surfer Blood or Real Estate but want similar kicks. Out via Sub Pop.
Staff note from Clinton:
I didn't *quite* get as on board with their earlier records as many did but this sounds like they are about to drop the big one. It's scruffier and more rough hewn than any Go Betweens LP but has the same watery Australian sound with melodies and choruses that long get stuck in your head. Possibly the perfect summer soundtrack.
Vinyl LP £19.99 SP1220
Black vinyl LP on Sub Pop.
- Shipping cost: £3.35 ?
- Includes download code
CD £7.99 SPCD1220
CD on Sub Pop.
- Shipping cost: £1.05 ?
Limited Vinyl LP £19.99 SP1220X
Limited edition, blue marbled vinyl 'Loser Edition' LP on Sub Pop.
Tape £7.49 SPCS1220
Cassette tape on Sub Pop.
That moment when we say "if you only buy one guitar pop album all year ...." .
Every summer needs a guitar based album we all can enjoy and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have more than delivered here. They are a rough hewn project and much dirtier and grungier than your usual summer fayre of bands like Real Estate, Hoops and Beach Fossils. 'Hope Downs' shows them in all their ragged glory. Opener 'An Airconditioned Man' is like a more aggressive and ..um... manlier the Go Betweens even down to it's spoken words middle eight. The album is a great blend of fantastic guitar riffs, poetic vocals and sky scraping choruses. Seriously it's fucking Midnight Oil on 'Talking Straight' blended with Paul Westerberg's way with a ragged but lovely lyric and that chorus is a classic.
I've read comparisons with early REM which I understand in that this is the sort of quality guitar rock we perhaps haven't witnessed since those golden days yet Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever lack the arty dreaminess of that band. They are more direct, more crunchy, less obtuse. Instead there are more apt comparisons to the Aussie laid back guy rock of Scott & Charlene's Wedding and perhaps to the Lemonheads in their insouciant laid back charm and to Courtney Barnett in the lyrical dexterity.
I'm giving it a 9 because we need a guitar album that we can all get behind. There is though the occasional track that goes past without incident and perhaps 'Hope Downs' can't quite live up to the adrenalin rush of the first four tracks, It is at times a victim of it's brilliant opening quarter of an hour but there's nothing here not to enjoy. Put your straw in something tropical, sit back and enjoy guitar music done properly.
9/10 Andrew 20th July 2018
Excellent full debut from promising Oz indie rockers on "Loser" coloured vinyl.
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