Having scored one of the sleeper hits of the indie scene in 2018 with their debut Hope Downs, Australian quintet Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever waste no time in making a follow-up. Sideways To New Italy concerns how their relationships to their home country have changed in the aftermath of relentlessly touring the world over the last few years.
Vinyl LP £19.32 SP1360
Black vinyl LP on Sub Pop.
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CD £8.23 SPCD1360
CD on Sub Pop.
Limited Vinyl LP £22.73 SP1360X
Limited indies only 'Loser Edition' blue coloured vinyl LP on Sub Pop.
- Coloured vinyl
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Summer 2018. 'Hope Downs'. Was it really so long ago? Acres of gorgeous weather, the soft top always down, your writer desperately trying to rekindle a doomed love affair. The feel... the smell of that album seems to linger long in the memory and so two years later it's time to see if the glory can be repeated.
The impressive thing about 'Hope Downs' was that it went bang, bang, bang. Three glorious openers which set the pace of an album that never let up. 'Sideways to New Italy' does similar. The album comes racing out the blocks with the triple whammy of 'The Second Of The First', 'Falling Thunder' and 'She's There' at which point all bets off and Rolling Blackouts surely prove themselves as the go to band if you want sunny side up guitar music with a bit of muscle played at a zippy punk inspired pace. Perfect. However 'Beautiful Steven' emerges into view and it's suddenly obvious that this band are human after all. They can make guitar music that plods like all the rest. Later on 'Sunglasses At The Wedding' cements the thought - a slight and unmemorable waste of minutes of precious album time.
Luckily there are plenty other things to enjoy. 'Cars in Space', 'Not Tonight' and 'Cameo' all do everything you'd want from the band. They still live on the glorious fumes of the Go-Betweens - plaintive guitars, memorable choruses, a production spangle that ensures that this all sounds best blasted out on sunny days. About three quarters great, 'Sideways to New Italy' isn't the slam dunk I'd hoped for but it still does enough to be one of the best guitar records of this year. We should all be delighted... But there's just that a slight lack of focus at times that ensures is stop short of greatness.
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