Published Jun 04, 2020Back in Summer 2018, Melbourne-based quintet Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever caught the world's attention with the release of their debut album, Hope Downs, a collection of infectious guitar-pop songs. Behind it, they toured relentlessly and spent a long stretch of time on the road; no surprise that this took a toll on the band.
Upon their return back home, they struggled with disconnection, feeling separated from what remained of their old lives, but this only jolted them into their next creative project. RBCF began crafting new music with the desire to capture a sense of home — the title takes its name from the small village where drummer Marcel Toussie is from — and Sideways to New Italy was born.
The core spirit that made RBCF so successful in the first place is not lost in their sophomore album; each track, melodic and catchy, plays out with glimmers of optimism. Both "She's There" and "Cars in Space" adopt an easy-going warmth, the band riding a nice groove, and "The Only One" stands out with the sunniest of guitar lines and harmonica playing.
Although some of the album's tracks may seem interchangeable at times, that's a relatively minor fault; RBCF know what they are good at and they stick to it.
Sideways to New Italy is not only the perfect summer companion, but it also makes room for a reflective experience. As the band work to find what constitutes "home" again, digging into their individual pasts and the people and places who have shaped them, perhaps it can inspire listeners to look inwards and do the same. (Sub Pop)