After returning from long globetrotting stretches touring critically acclaimed debut album ‘Hope Downs’ and regarded antecedent EPs, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever felt dislocated and disoriented, searching for reminders of the identities plying the global circuit for the better part of two years estranged them from.
Calling upon their ‘weird pop’ sensibilities and keeping hookiness at the forefront of their songwriting, sophomore effort Sideways To New Italy fuses infectious melodies and the outfit’s own blend of optimistic jangle pop. Sonically somewhere between The Bats and The Go-Betweens, the band have an ability to project silver screen imagery through their lyrics, in a way that is reminiscent of The Jam’s Paul Weller.
Nostalgia-laden, better refined, and more propulsive than previous releases, the Aussie five-piece’s second LP cathartically examines the landscapes and interactions from the band’s personal histories, creating something akin to wistful optimism.
Sideways To New Italy marries the same antiquated indie algorithm to the quintet’s cinematic pop song writing style that made its predecessor a hit; three jangly guitars, sustained, intertwining, spiralling, and emoting with one another as primary melody makers. Rolling Coastal’s brand of sparse, understated vocals laden with introspection also return; albeit beefed up a bit.
There is a fresh urgency heard through the album compared to previous releases that exemplifies the quintet’s willingness to push their own boundaries. ‘Second Of The First’ kicks off proceedings with catching energy held throughout subsequent tracks ‘Falling Thunder’, ‘She’s There’ and ‘The Only One’, stoking up the feelings of buoyant glee that accompany the thought of that first post-lockdown pub session with your mates.
Infectious jam around a talkative bassline ‘Cars In Space’ bursts briefly into Marr-esque riffs, whilst ‘Cameo’ – nicking its chords from an old side-lined track titled ‘Hope Downs’ – references the ability of physical memorabilia to create lasting archival snapshots of the people and places of yore. ‘Cool Change’ indulges the ‘innocent weirdness’ of old projects by uprooting and re-purposing a song written over a decade ago.
‘Sideways To New Italy’ sounds paradoxically new and familiar. Stylistically, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever stay close to home. By pushing the boundaries of their retrograde-indie-jangle-pop style, the five-piece demonstrate internal evolution, allowing their sophomore album unique status in the quintet’s so far sparkling repertoire, breathing life into an all too often uninspiring indie scene.