Two years on from 2018’s Hope Downs, Australia’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever returns with their sophomore record, Sideways to New Italy. Named after a village in New South Wales, Sideways to New Italy is a sunny record that sees the band stay close to home.
That’s because the main attraction of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever remains their trio of lead guitarists and the jangle guitar magic they create so well. Just as they did on Hope Downs, Keaney, Russo and White dictate the direction of Sideways to New Italy.
Now, that’s not a bad thing if you were hoping to hear the RBCF you know and love from previous releases. Sideways to New Italy is a record that once again sees the 5-piece play to their strengths while perhaps not exactly pushing boundaries at the same time. As we all know, creative growth isn’t always a good thing, especially if it relegates the diehard fans to only be associated with a certain record. But, while RBCF don’t change things up too much, you can’t say they’re not great at what they do.
Tracks such as “Cars In Space”, an absolute belter of a single that had fans panting for the record, is as close to jangle rock perfection as you can get. Aided by melodic vocals that just won’t quit, it’s instantly up there with other beloved tracks such as “Talking Straight”. Fellow tracks “She’s There”, “Falling Thunder” and “The Second Of The First” show how well RBCF are able to create music that, while textured, also threatens to explode by way of sheer energy.
Where Sideways to New Italy peaks on the tracks I’ve mentioned, it also coasts along in certain parts. That may be because as a whole the record is exciting and quick, or becasue we’ve heard much of the same brilliance on Hope Downs, but the closing tracks of Sideways to New Italy just feel a little too safe.
(Sorry for pic quality)
I was lucky enough to see these guys live back in 2019 when they supported IDLES on a beautiful evening in Iveagh Gardens. If you didn’t catch them then, don’t fret. They’re back again in March and you can get your tickets here.
So, in summary of Sideways to New Italy I can say that, for fans of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, you’ll be delighted to find that the band hasn’t lost their touch. And as for the newcomers, well, don’t judge them completely on this record.