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The French Press [EP] [Slipcase]
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  • Personnel: Joe White (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Tom Russo (vocals, guitar); Fran Keaney (vocals, acoustic guitar); Marcel Tussie (drums); Kat Mear (background vocals).
  • Audio Mixer: Matt Chow.
  • Recording information: Sydney Rd, Brunswick, Melbourne (2016).
  • If Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever's debut EP, 2016's Talk Tight, was an outstanding exercise in snarky jangle pop, their first release for Sub Pop Records, 2017's The French Press, is even better as pop music, and just snarky enough to prevent the music from sounding too sweet. This band's belief in the power of a great hook is as strong as ever, and on these six tunes, they've come up with more songs that suggest the hidden nexus between the C-86 era and the Flying Nun Records roster. The best tracks here are up to the standards of Talk Tight, but with just a bit more polish and tightness, and an extra boost of energy that gives "French Press" and "Julie's Place" some real rock action. The interwoven guitars of Tom Russo, Fran Keaney, and Joe White are a true delight for pop obsessives, and the rhythm section of Joe Russo (bass) and Marcel Tussie (drums) is exemplary, nailing the rhythms and adding just the right amount of color and texture. And if the band doesn't display quite as much sharp wit here, opening the title track with "I'm all right/If you asked me/But you never do/Is this thing on?" shows RBCF's sense of humor hasn't escaped them. With The French Press, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have made the jump from small indie to big indie with style and grace, and if they can bring the same level of skill to a full-length album, they'll be all but unstoppable. ~ Mark Deming
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