Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
When Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever began attracting international attention, it was fair to wonder whether or not they’d retain their distinctly Australian approach to indie rock.
Debut album Hope Downs quickly shows us how ridiculous such a suggestion was. This band proudly show off their influences and lineage; their music is distinctly Australian and truly doesn't sound like it could have come from anywhere else.
There’s absolutely nothing groundbreaking about Hope Downs. There’s barely anything that you’d even call original about this record. That sounds like a harsh criticism, but the truth is that there’s something really heartening about a band adding to an already established legacy of great Australian rock rather than trying to truly reinvent it.
There are shade of the Sunnyboys, Australian Crawl, Dragon, Courtney Barnett, Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, The Go-Betweens and more in these songs. If not in sound, then certainly in feel and attitude.
But the shabbiness of RBCF’s current peers has undoubtedly rubbed off a little as well. The dole wave boom of a few years ago - Dick Diver, Twerps, Bitch Prefect et al - has empowered bands to be a little sloppy again, which gives records like Hope Downs a sense of realness that’s immediately connecting.
Early singles like ‘Talking Straight’, ‘Mainland’ and ‘The Hammer’ had already become favourites prior to the album’s release, but they make even more sense in this broader context. Here, we get more of the same, and we hear a band that has a clear idea of what they’re doing and how to execute it authentically.
And, like so many of these types of records, it becomes richer the more you listen to it. Those hooks burrow deeper into your brain, the sweet chime of their jangly guitars and the twisted, snaky riffs that add richness to the tapestry of sounds here.
It’s nothing we haven’t heard before, but it’s rock solid, and a reminder that this distinctly Australian brand of guitar pop truly is ageless.