Jun 19, 2018


It’s rare that a band’s debut album sounds as confident and self-assured as Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s Hope Downs

The hard-hitting debut is a testament to Rolling Blackouts’ tight-knit and hard-working bonafides. Prior to forming the band in 2013, singers/guitarists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo, and Joe White had played together in various garage bands, dating back to high school. “Over the years, we built up our own sound and style, guitar pop songs with bits of punk and country,” says Keaney. 

Hope Downs was largely written over the past year in the band’s Brunswick rehearsal room where their previous releases were also written and recorded. The band’s core trio of songwriters hunkered down and wrote as the chaos of the world outside unavoidably seeped into the songwriting process.

“The songs on this album are like a collection of postcards about wider things that were going on through the lens of these small characters.”

The album title, from the Hope Downs mine in Western Australia, refers to the feeling of “standing at the edge of the void of the big unknown, and finding something to hold on to.”

Decamping from a Melbourne winter to the warmer climes of northern New South Wales hinterland to drummer Marcel Tussie’s hometown in Bellingen, the band worked with engineer/producer Liam Judson (Cloud Control, Tigertown) to record and co-produce the album over two weeks. “We were right at the foot of this beautiful mountain next to a creek,” says White. “We could play out into the bush through the night.”

And sound like them it does. Skewed guitars, driving beats, and lyrics with gravitas are the backbone of an album that’s tinged with a subtle melancholy.

Hope Downs is out now through Ivy League.