Sideways to New Italy by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever [6/10]

After their unexpectedly successful debut Hope Downs, “Sideways to New Italy” is both another splash of rushing indie rock from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, and quite different in feel. With three singer-songwriters steeped in 80s Australian rock and pop, with breezy vocals, with jaunty lyrics, with a rhythm section both driving and somehow calm, the early songs hark back to Hope Downs. “The Second of the First” bursts into life with an instrumental flurry, picks up urgent vocals, then morphs and grows wonderfully. “Falling Thunder” brims with lightness (“is it any wonder?”) over a rock-steady foundation. “She’s There,” a classic breakup rant, mixes lovely guitar figures and chart-ready call-and-response vocals. Then the album shifts into something more subdued, and occasionally less inspired, covering a range of pop/rock references, before the closing track “The Cool Change” lands us back in the 90s with a blissed-out confections. Sideways to New Italy is a feel-good antidote to lockdown Melbourne winter.

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