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August 2020
Album review

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Sideways To New Italy

A sideways move? Not in the slightest.
Label: Sub Pop
Released: 5th June 2020
Rating: ★★★★★
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Sideways To New Italy
Published: 4:38 pm, July 29, 2020Words: Jamie MacMillan.

Life on the road for a touring band can be many things. For most, it is weeks and months spent far from home, staring out of windows at unknown territories as new landscapes flash past. It's no surprise that many bands find themselves then yearning for home and the familiar. On 'Sideways To New Italy', the second album from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, all of the emotions and memories that life in a tour van evoke have been wrapped up into a huge leap forwards from already promising beginnings.

As the sense of disconnect spirals out from the trippy opener 'The Second Of The First', a feeling later described as being like "a stationary boy in a moving day-dream", life has obviously changed for the Australian band. But much of the impetus comes from the past. Tracks resonate like a memory jar being opened for the first time in decades, the beauty of having three different songwriters resulting in these fragments and snatches of the past becoming swept up into something bigger and more universal. Separate strands become the ties that bind, whether in gorgeous love songs like 'She's There', the super chill 'The Only One', or the dreamy end-of-the-party 'Sunglasses At The Wedding'.

Delivering on all of the promise of 'Hope Downs', it's not too much of an overstatement to draw parallels with classic mid-era R.E.M. Album highlights' Beautiful Steven' and the closing' The Cool Change' straddle that same perfect line of earworm melodies that keep nagging and poking, while never losing sight of that distinct quirkiness that has driven them this far. A sideways move? Not in the slightest.


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