There are things you know are facts but even though they are just that, facts, they seem disputable. They seem up for debate. You see the facts but you also see what you want to see. Or in this case, hear what you want to hear.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is a five-piece indie rock band from Australia. Of the five members in the band, three play guitar. That right there is your fact. But if you listen to the band’s music, that’s where things get wonky because, on a lot of their songs, it sounds like there are way more than just three guitars in the mix. Rolling Blackouts’ songs typically feature guitars coming at you with the brute force of an avalanche storming down the mountain or a tsunami erupting from the sea.
The guitars in the band’s music are massive and earth-shattering, yet you tell me there are only three of them. I want to call bullshit but hey, facts are facts, kid.
On Friday, the band released their third full-length album, Endless Rooms. It comes nearly two years after their excellent sophomore release Sideways to New Italy. As with most act’s third albums, Endless Rooms features the band expanding their sound some, but for the most part, their calling card remains the same. The music is dense, lush, beautifully atmospheric and melodic and frequently played at tempos that make you think someone was hunting the band for sport when they recorded them. Rolling Blackouts play fast. It’s not wild, punk rock fast, but it could be considered the cousin from the suburbs version of that.
While I would most definitely recommend checking out Endless Rooms, I would also suggest exploring these six songs from the band.
“In The Capital”
Ah, the one that started it all for me. I can’t remember where or how I heard this song but all that matters is I did and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever has been on my radar ever since. As was previously mentioned, the tempo isn’t messing around and could best be described as a ‘shit, I’m late for work’ kind of frantic pace. But it’s still restrained, harnessed in a way that the band is able to keep the energy in check and moving in the same direction. The vocals float like clouds about the instrumentation; clouds being driven by the wind so as not to block the sun’s rays.
This excellent piece of pop/rock/punkish majesty is one of the highlights on Sideways to New Italy, which is impressive in its own right as that album is stacked. One of the more interesting things about “She’s There” is how the vocals get stuck in your head but in fragments. I don’t ever find myself singing the whole chorus or entire verses but will routinely find myself humming lines like “I opened the letter, but the writing’s wrong” or “time is a river.” “She’s There” is also a prime example of the power of the band’s harmonies. It’s not just an army of guitars coming your way, but an army of harmonies and that’s that, man. They got you.
The title track from the band’s 2017 EP is likely the song that got most people’s attention back when it was released and it really highlights what the band is able to bring to the table. It also shows that they had a grasp on the sound they were going for early on, which isn’t always the case with bands. For instance, you could slot “French Press” onto Endless Rooms and it would fit. And that’s not to say the band hasn’t grown because that’s not true. It’s more of a statement of how fully formed they were from the jump.
“Cars In Space”
“Cars In Space,” another track from Sideways to New Italy, is a killer driving song but I should warn you to keep an eye on your speed. The song’s tempo could infiltrate your inner workings and cause you to get a little bit of a heavy foot on the gas. The cops won’t understand, so don’t try to explain. I get it, but that’s not really worth a damn. So just be careful. This would also be a great song to hear them play live because I’m sure it explodes and comes off like fireworks and…there’s some weird shit going on in the video but I don’t know, I’ve never been to Australia. Maybe it’s perfectly normal. Whatever. This song rocks.
Ever since the band started releasing music in 2016, they’ve never really stopped. Endless Rooms might only be their third full-length release, but that’s a misleading stat. They’ve also dropped a couple EPs and nearly a dozen singles over the years, with one of those being “Mainland,” which came out in 2018 and would go on to be included on the band’s debut album, Hope Downs. “Mainland” features on the band’s most arena-ready choruses as they erupt in unison, singing “Back on the mainland…” after a steady build-up in the form of a rock-solid pre-chorus.
I love the few seconds of music before the band kicks in, how the guitars introduce themselves and the high hat gets the clock ticking. It’s brief but it sticks with you. And then, like so many of the band’s songs, the tune just takes off and from there sounds like there is so much going on between all the guitars, vocals and harmonies, and drums. It’s such a busy but cohesive song. Everything makes sense but it’s almost hard to tell because of the busyness and strength in numbers on display. And if you can listen to this and not find yourself singing “isn’t it any wonder” for the rest of the day, you’re stronger than I am.