From continuous touring to experiencing a protracted Covid-related lockdown, Rolling Blackouts Coast Fever was thrust from one end of the spectrum to the other in a heartbeat. As they faced a profound sensory deprivation, Endless Rooms actualised.
The band’s third studio album is self-produced together with Matt Duffy. It re-establishes their trademark undulating pop sound and introduces a greater depth of maturity, evident by thoughtful narrative progressions and richer musical intonations. Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White’s trio of guitars, the essence of the Rolling Blackouts C.F. sound, remain present. However, the album builds on this to create a distinctly expressive offering.
The use of soundscapes occurs from the onset with the instrumental Pear Like You. As a door slowly creaks open (it is assumed), we are welcomed into Endless Rooms.
The three singles already shared are symbolically demonstrative of the evolving nature of this album. The Way It Shatters captures the ‘classic’ Rolling Blackouts C.F. sound of previous albums. The beguiling pop tendencies and jangly guitars combined with a fragmented love narrative are what we have come to know the band for. Similarly, Tidal River encapsulates the familiar sound while lyrically evoking a grander motif.
That of the Australian landscape and ‘Aussie’ sentiments, sentiments that are interwoven throughout the album. My Echo, on the other hand, introduces a renewed intensity. It is exciting. It is moreish, and it lingers throughout the second half of the album, in particular,
Like the progression of the singles, the album advances with a similar scope. Caught Low, nestled among the singles on the album, is a low-tempo melodic blossoming of harmonies. Whereas Deep Dive hits the mid-tempo groove with a splash of funk.
Open Up Your Window serves as a palate cleanser interlude before the dreaminess of Blue Eye Lake, with its euphonious feeling, emerges. Saw You at the Eastern Beach reimagines the Australian sound of yesteryear with a contemporary twist of vocal and instrumental layering. While the sleek Vanishing Dots offers balance and completeness.
Au contraire, the title track, Endless Rooms, is somewhat baffling. It brings an eeriness that teases of more, but the more never arrives. Regardless, it is oddly enough. With all the markings of an album-closing song, it is not. That is left to the pleasant-sounding Bounce Off the Bottom, which is enhanced by an organ and glockenspiel.
“We called it Endless Rooms because we work best thinking of each song as its own bare room or universe to build. Somehow, it all hangs together,” explains Russo. It is akin to walking through a labyrinth of rooms, each with its own distinctive style. When considering the synecdoche, totality is achieved.
Endless Rooms captures a previously unheard musical maturity. With magnified and richer sounds offset by earmarked stylistic conventions and lyrical diversity, it is an enjoyable and natural next step for Rolling Blackouts C.F.
Album Review By Anita Kertes