21 July 2018

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs


Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever hail from Melbourne, Australia, they were formed in 2013 and their current line up consists of Fran Keaney (vocals, guitar), Tom Russo (vocals, guitar), Joe White (vocals, guitar), Joe Russo (bass) and Marcel Tussie (drums).  I first heard them when I was researching for songs to play on my radio show, Attention Please on NE1FM.  The first song I heard was “French Press”, taken from The French Press EP (2017).  This was a fantastic number, reminding me of The Brian Jonestown Massacre with their love of Power Pop jams.  The French Press EP has since become a bit of a cult classic, one which seems to grow in stature all the time.  Hope Downs is their debut album, released on 15th June 2018 via Sub Pop Records.  From all corners of the globe, the praise for this album has been deafening.  The only way it could possibly be more scene is to add two-man buns and a beard to the cover photo, as it seems like the hipster press are falling over themselves to sing it praises the loudest.  For me, I’m just hoping for something on it as good as “French Press” on it. So, how has it turned out?

Hope Downs is a short affair to say the least, coming in at thirty-six minutes and consisting of ten tracks.  It would be fair to say that the band have kept it short and to the point.  The fact that they have done this means that there is no overexposure to their sound, it's a relatively short, sharp album (in their particular style).  Hope Downs is a fast-paced album, full of youthful energy and lacking the trappings of experience.  Songs such as “Time in Common” and “Talking Straight” best represent this point, with a freedom that is refreshing.  Other tracks such as “Cappuccino City” and “How Long?” sound like dusk on a summer night, full of possibilities and mystery.  “How Long?” also reminds me a bit of Kurt Vile, with that droning quality that latches onto you and will not let go.

Because of its short length, Hope Downs leaves the listener wanting more.  To be honest, you almost wish that they had have added a few extra songs, which is a rare occurrence for me these days.  If there is one drawback, it would be that I would have like to have heard a tiny piece of variety to the album, just to add texture to this album.   Not that I’m complaining to be honest, RBCF have created a great record here, one that is cementing itself in my summer soundtrack.  I guess the only thing I’m worried about is Hope Downs turning out to be a summer romance in a way.  I have my doubts that it will it still hold its charms in the short light of winter if I'm honest.  But who knows on that front, that's a question for the future.  What I can say is that Hope Downs is a well-rounded debut full-length album, albeit a bit one-dimensional in places.

8 out of ten – Now, you have my attention as well as my money, time and heart.

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