Melbourne, Australian, guitar ninjas Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever made a near-perfect indie-rock gem with 2018’s Hope Downs. They worked their own little sliver of history beautifully, essentially the airily melodic song poetry of the Go-Betweens or if they had R.E.M.’s melodic-but-driving rhythm section, or the twisty guitar weaves of Television or the Feelies, smoothed out and sped up with a power-pop gloss. The album generated huge buzz, with the band playing sweaty, sold-out shows in the U.S.
Now, they’re back with a new LP, Sideways to New Italy, which will be out in June. They’ve already released one song from the album, “Cars in Space,” and now they’ve put out another, “She’s There.” It’s pure guitar-mad elation. The lyrics open with a reference to “summer rain,” evoking the Go-Betweens classic “Spring Rain.” Hooks get piled on top of hooks, and the fleeting beauty of the music opens up a sense of urgency and drama in the lyrics — lines like “Time is a river/Only one way/Down together” and “I open the letter/But the writing’s wrong.” The eventual effect is like peeling toward heavy-duty romantic trouble that’s getting less vague and more scary with each flick of jangle or acoustic filigree.
If they’re gunning for the best guitar band since Parquet Courts, then this is a great way to make the case.
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