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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Sideways To New Italy (Album Review)

Friday, 05 June 2020 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: Peter Ryle

There is a push-pull dynamic at the heart of ‘Sideways to New Italy’, the superb second album from Melbourne indie-rockers Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Binding it together are memories of home, snatched glimpses of loved ones, and the desire to remain connected, but the music itself is built for wide open spaces and stretches of blacktop.

Recorded with producer Burke Reid, the LP takes the blueprints provided by the quintet’s debut, ‘Hope Downs’, and retrofits them with a few twists and turns where once there was a straight road ahead. It’s less streamlined, with Tom Russo, Joe White and Fran Keaney’s guitar lines allowed the freedom to get a little frayed at the edges.

The trio—who also share vocals and songwriting duties—continue to work remarkably well in tandem with one another, utilising the watertight rhythm section of Joe Russo and Marcel Tussie in order to ground flights of fancy like the sublime Cameo.

Here, Keaney sets the scene with a patient opening verse before the band tumbles after him, all ringing guitars and celebratory melodies. It feels expansive in a way that Rolling Blackouts’ music hasn’t always before.

When they do return to the driving tempos and slashing guitars of their debut, as on the addictive opener The Second of the First, they are able to hit their stride with confidence and swagger to spare. Rather than cast aside the basics they continue to rely on them for momentum, and soaring moments like She’s There provide that with a flourish.

Summer is a strange concept at the minute, but that’s what ‘Sideways to New Italy’ feels like. Its melodic clarity is reassuring and continually exciting, while sharp musicianship and a head for sequencing ensures that Rolling Blackouts don’t get lost while following one of those enticing diversions. Stunning stuff.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu March 04 2021 - BRIGHTON Concorde 2
Fri March 05 2021 - LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Sat March 06 2021 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Sun March 07 2021 - OXFORD O2 Academy Oxford
Tue March 09 2021 - BRISTOL SWX
Wed March 10 2021 - LEEDS Leeds Irish Centre
Thu March 11 2021 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Fri March 12 2021 - EDINBURGH Liquid Rooms
Sat March 13 2021 - GLASGOW QMU
Mon March 15 2021 - DUBLIN Vicar Street
Wed March 17 2021 - CARDIFF Tramshed
Thu March 18 2021 - NOTTINGHAM Nottingham Trent Students Union
Fri March 19 2021 - SHEFFIELD Sheffield University

Click here to compare & buy Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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