Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have the ability to write songs rooted in darkness and complexity while keeping the sound airy and refreshing, a true gift on “French Press.”
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, also known as Rolling Blackouts C.F., are in ten months deep since the quintet’s release of their March 2017 EP, The French Press. Rolling Blackouts C.F. had merely been a staple of Melbourne’s indie underground with their debut EP, Talk Tight. After gaining some radio-play with the release, they caught the ear of Seattle alt record label, Sub Pop. On Sub Pop, Rolling Blackouts C.F. carefully mastered what became their follow-up EP, 2017’s The French Press (Sub Pop). The first and title track on the EP, “French Press,” facilitates a masterful, jangly tune that surely means business. If it alludes to anything, it’s that this won’t be the last time we hear from Rolling Blackouts C.F.
“French Press” – Rolling Blackouts C.F.
If you’re a lyrics person, at first listen one might assume “French Press” is a breakup song. We are so inundated with songs strictly about lovers and ex-lovers that it’s a fair assumption. The opening line, “I’m alright / If you asked me / But you never do.” has an air of bitterness, one that permeates the air between two lovers who have lost touch when communicating with one another. He goes on to sing, “And I’ve never felt better / Since I let her go.” Another misleading line to assume the focal point in the track is an ex.
On a second listen, or maybe a third, you come to realize he’s talking to his brother who is traveling overseas. Throughout the song the brothers call goes in and out of service, begging the singer to pose the question, “Are you moving out of range?” and onto sing, “I’m having trouble making you out.” The lines, “And people used to say / Under their breath / That you got the looks / And I got all of the rest / Did it work out for the best? / And brother don’t you know / Brother don’t you know / That jealousy’s a curse,” are when it becomes certain he is speaking with his sibling. The in-depth complexity with which the song is written makes it evermore desirable. Love songs can become tiresome, but sibling rivalries, now that is something unique.
For an indie pop song, “French Press” is quite long. The track closes out at 5 minutes and 26 seconds, with a hearty midway jam session. The jangly guitars and memorable bass line are catchy but not too kitschy. The drum beat even manages to be bubbly, so that the whole experience glimmers. This isn’t the jammiest track on the EP but it’s still a force to be reckoned with when performanced live. The song is melodic, though not overly experimental, it tastes of sweet summertime, but on the very first day of the season. Rolling Blackouts C.F. have a way of writing shimmery rhythms, while something darker lurks in the depths of the song. This gives their music, especially “French Press, layers of depth.
“French Press” plays out in a heap of clever, well rehearsed minutes. The track is highly addictive. Beware of how frequently it’ll come up in your playlists.
Rolling Blackout C.F. have a busy 2018 ahead of them. They released a new single in late January titled “Mainland,” they’re playing St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival throughout Australia, then they grace the stage of massive California festival, Coachella, and finally embark on a Spring tour throughout the U.S. and Europe. They are headlining venues like Minneapolis’s iconic 7th Street Entry and Brooklyn’s Rough Trade. If anything, this isn’t the last we will be hearing from Rolling Blackouts C.F. Expect some massive growth on the horizon.
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photo © Sub Pop Records