Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, The Great Scott, Boston MA, May 11, 2018,

May 25, 2018 Web Exclusive
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When musicians sit on the cusp of breaking out, there's a sweet spot lasting only a moment. The collected songs are strong enough to draw larger audiences, and each performance is an electrifying experience, but the world has yet to catch up.

For the briefest of spells your next favorite band can be found in small, sweaty, intimate venues, sound rebounding endlessly off tightly enclosed walls. Bigger shows beckon soon, and it will be great but not the same.

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever were in the center of that sweetest of sweet spots at the Great Scott in Boston, rolling through old EPs and several tracks off Hope Dawns, their not-quite released debut.

They were preceded by local support act Beeef, churning through solid pop/rock overshadowed by the sheer joy everyone had shouting the band name in a guttural voice between songs. It was the highlight of that set.

Then it was Rolling Blackouts' turn. The extravagantly named five-piece feel old and new. Formed half a decade back, two acclaimed EPs arrived in 2016 and 2017, and finally 2018 is album time. The sense of familiarity is nicely matched with the sheer quality of the songs. This is indie rock at its finest, straddling the divide between driving guitar lines and catchy pop sensibilities.

What this family affairthere are two cousins and two brothers in the banddoesn't come with is the hyper-inflated egos usually strutting to these kinds of tunes. There's no preening on stage, no look at me behavior, just five guys moving about playing catchy and ridiculously cool songs.

Perhaps it helps there's no frontman. Or rather there are three. Fran Keaney, his cousin Joe White, and Tom Russo (Russo's brother Joe plays bass and the drummer is White's former roommate Marcel Tussie) all play guitar and take turns singing songs that largely come in the form of character vignettes. Three songs off the new record allow them each the platform to shine during the show. "An Air Conditioned Man" finds Keaney delving into the drudgery of a salary man, "Talking Straight" has White addressing loneliness, and Russo uses "Mainland" to obliquely reflect on the migrant crisis after visiting his ancestral home on the Aeolian Islands.

All the way through, yet to be released songs mingle with previous favorites like "French Press," "Julie's Place," and "Wither With You," allowing no let-up until the set is done. Guitars jangle without losing a darker edge, choruses sparkle with a certain wistfulness, and the rhythm section keeps everything moving seamlessly forward.

Bigger shows and bigger times lie around the corner, especially once Hope Dawns lands. For now, the moment before the moment is the place to be.

www.rollingblackoutsband.com

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