Rolling Blackouts – Hope Downs

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By Matt Rocke.

Rolling BlackoutsHope Downs (Ivy League)

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever enjoy one of the best band names going round. Signed to the diversifying Sub Pop label, the Melburnians’ new debut album Hope Downs is a ripper.

Following two well received indie/garage EP’s, the ease and authenticity of this record will make it welcome on both sides of the Pacific and beyond.

As a quintet of cross-connected friends and blood brothers; sound mimics structure, with sweet melodies and guitar tangents separating and intersecting like a fine sonic happenstance at a pub gig around the corner.

One of the early singles ‘Talking Straight’ is near perfection. It’s one of those songs you just can’t hear enough, true to the feeling of Hunters & Collectors, Dappled Cities or the Go-Betweens. It’s driving angst-free indie.

The straight up guitar soundscape created here is neither unique nor new, yet it’s fair to say the style has recently been nudged out by high production pop. Rolling Blackouts CF are proving grassroots storytelling is again a welcome prologue for a new generation.

The album is full of punchy short two and three minute songs, interspersed with calm and languid junctures and a flourishing jangle on ‘An Air Conditioned Man’ and ‘Cappuccino City,’ just to name a couple.

The earthy ‘Mainland’ and ‘Bellarine’  have a more natural colour and space. They are observational, self-assured, honest and distinctively Australian; candidates perhaps for a soundtrack to the next Tim Winton film adaptation.

Hope Downs concludes on a high with a stab of twang on ‘The Hammer’.

In the wider landscape, this debut album is a wonderful opening salvo. That said, we might have the start of a beautiful relationship here and who knows where the future waves will break.

Brian Wise

Brian Wise was the Editor of Addicted To Noise‘s Australian site from 1997 – 2002. The site won two ONYA Awards as Best Online Music Magazine in 1999 & 2000. He has also been Editor since its reincarnation in 2013. He also presents the weekly music interview program Off The Record on 102.7 Triple R-FM (rrr.org.au) in Melbourne. It is networked to 45+ stations across Australia on the Community Radio Network and is a four-time winner of the Best Music Program Award from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. In 2012, it was nominated as a finalist in the Excellence in Music Programming category. Brian was also the Founding Editor & Publisher of Rhythms Magazine and is now its Senior Contributing Editor.

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