Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Break Down Every Track On New Album 'Endless Rooms'

6 May 2022 | 10:37 am | Staff Writer

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever today release 'Endless Rooms', their most cinematic, stylistically diverse and ambitious album yet. To get to know its tracklist better, the band have analysed each song's sentiment, creation and context below.

(Image by Nick Mckk)

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Pearl Like You

Very late on the final night of two weeks at the house we recorded around ten minutes of this loop with just a synthesizer and drum machine while Matt Duffy (friend and producer) walked around and through the house with a field recorder. This snippet starts with the creak of the door entering into the house warmth from the winter country air outside. It’s a sketch of a song from the winter prior that’s remained a sketch, essentially in its original state. - Joe W

Tidal River 

Like most of the songs I wrote the skeleton for, this began life on an unplugged Stratocaster, playing the chords over and over during a seemingly unending Melbourne lockdown. The claustrophobia and boredom in the air seemed to inform the song. It’s kind of a snapshot of living in a nation at a time when it feels like there is no one at the wheel. It leans into the ugly side of Australia. If there were a complacency Olympics, we would win the gold by a mile. We are known as the ‘lucky country', but that luck is only shared by some, and a lot of the luckiest ones jealously guard this fortune, as if their luck will evaporate if they share it around. There is so much potential in this country to do better, but sometimes it seems like progress is two steps forward, two steps back. Tidal River is a majestic place located in what was named Wilsons Prom by Europeans, where the river meets the ocean. It has great significance for the Gunai/Kurnai and Boonwurrung peoples, who call it Yiruk and Wamoon respectively. No matter the struggles and petty politics that go on, the river just keeps churning into the sea. I guess at heart I was attempting to update Power And The Passion for the ScoMo doldrum era. - Tom

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The Way It Shatters

I’m pretty sure this song started with a drum beat and then some chords on a keyboard. The chorus melody was an idea of Fran’s when we first were able to play the song in a room together. The synth feels like a bit of a new direction for us but it feels right at home amongst the rest of the album. It’s about how ending up in your particular situation in life is the result of absolute randomness. If you happen to be born into wealthy Australia or happen to be born into a war zone in Syria. That’s just the way it shatters. So it’s when this good luck is mistaken for a sense of pride in one's self or their country they become confused and deluded about what’s important. It’s when those on the other side of the luck scale are completely othered and considered not worthy. It’s when people hide behind Christian values while at the same time letting people waste away in offshore prison for years and years. - Joe W

Caught Low 

This song began life as an idea that we dubbed ‘Grand Funk’, which rightfully didn’t see the light of day. It was a bit too American flannel shirt rock. Then Joe Russo reworked the chords into an endless synth loop using a loop pedal, and it took on a new life. When we recorded it, we added some good old-fashioned group handclaps, and Stella Donnelly's vocal elevated it hugely. It is inspired by a time we found ourselves in Redding, California, staying in a brand new housing estate. It was a bit post-apocalyptic, the smoggy sunset over the perfect lawns that were greener than they had any right to be, the hum of air-con units, the smell of fresh asphalt, thousands of tiny frogs hopping around, and no humans anywhere. - Tom

My Echo

This song came together on the couch after watching a doco on the Chills. 

I just let the vocal guide the song rather than look down and think about the chords. The verse, chorus and bridge choruses are pretty much the same, but the vocal melodies change throughout. The second verse melody comes from an old song Joe White started when we were recording Hope Downs.

As for the lyrics, it’s pandemic living. Working from home, then knocking off and moving to the couch to watch the AFL festival of football in 2020. (AFL wasn’t able to be played in Victoria so they relocated the teams interstate to the covid zero states and for about a month or so they put on a game every night). It was basically created for the Victorian stay at home public. It was strange to watch the non-covid states attend the footy while Victorians were to stay at home to try to stamp down the virus to zero. It felt a bit like we were in our cage waiting for our daily football fix. Sort of lost all track of time. It was a barrage of football commentary, and all the betting ads they shove down your throat nowadays. 

When restrictions eased to a point that we were able to be in a room together, we went to Rushworth to work on some songs with Matt Duffy. We wanted to just hit record to see what happened. The demo of this felt so good that we really tried to capture it as best we could for the album. (We ended up recording the album in exactly the same spot, with Matt Duffy). - Fran

Dive Deep

This is a simple song of devotion. It’s about if you are going to give in to love, you need to go all-in, and accept that you have no control in the matter. It began as a home recording during lockdown. It was a hectic time, I had to record the guide vocals and most of the instruments with my new baby strapped to my chest. When we could finally get together to play it, Joe White came up with the perfect lead guitar tone. He was given full licence to wail, and did so. It sounded pretty great blaring out over the fire and under the stars when we recorded it at the Basin house. We eventually had to reluctantly cut out several minutes of soloing from the outro so that it could fit on the album. Maybe we could release the full director’s cut at some point in the future. - Tom

Open Up Your Window

I wrote this song at the end of 2018 after a massive year of touring. It was early summer and I was back at the house I grew up in. I wrote a bunch of songs during a weird state of transition becoming reacquainted with Melbourne again. The song was originally going to go for 90 seconds, but then when I brought it to the band it felt so nice to sit on the groove, so we made a version that went for about six minutes. Then we reined it back in for the album and it goes for about two mins. When we recorded the song, Joe White felt his way through his fluttering guitar part at the end of the song. It’s one of my favourite moments on the album. - Fran

Blue Eye Lake

This is probably our most ambitious song to date. It has a warped mellotron strings pad and a filter sweep. We threw everything at it during production and slowly removed things until the vocal melodies were the main focus. The joy of bringing this song to life was getting in the booth just to see what happens. Fran had some cool backing vocals and Tom found the perfect underwater guitar tone - it was fun to break the shackles and explore what we could do with the song. It’s a song about wanting to take a lakeside holiday inside somebody’s beautiful eyes. - Joe W

Saw You At The Eastern Beach

The backing track began as a Joe Russo synth loop. As I walked endlessly around the same Brunswick streets, I listened to the loop and began to build a story around it, kind of a cheap-speed fever dream. In every suburb and town Australia, there is at least one huge pub where people feed their savings into poker machines/pokies/one-armed bandits. The venue is made rich by this trade, in direct proportion to what is lost by the gamblers. There are so many human stories around this that are never really explored in the mainstream, probably because this activity benefits governments as well, so everyone keeps quiet and pockets their money. When we recorded this song, we decided to do a ’slowdown’ where it seemed like the record was warping. This proved hard to pull off in practice, but we got there in the end. It also probably mirrors the frame of mind of the character in the song. - Tom

Vanishing Dots

The chorus chords for this song had been trying to make a case for a while, but seemed to be a jigsaw piece that couldn’t find a home. An earlier version of the song nearly made it on the last album but made sense when it had a pre-chorus and we conceived of it as less claustrophobic, and more of a celestial banger. The line about the Green Ray is a reference to an Eric Rohmer film I watched, which talks about a Jules Verne book of the same name. The 'green ray' is the last flash of light before the sun sets. Those who see the 'green ray' are able to read each other’s thoughts. - Fran

Endless Rooms

This song is sort of reflecting on the strange experience of waking up in a different place every morning, which is ironic because it couldn't have been further from our reality when the album was written and recorded. It’s not complaining about touring, as it is a huge privilege to travel and play music, but it is an undeniably weird experience. The name refers to my theory that 99% of touring is wandering through a series of rooms trying to find somewhere comfy to lay down. This was one of the only songs that didn’t have a full band treatment, we made it up in the studio as we went. It kind of felt like the wheels were falling off in wider society as we improvised to finish this album however we could. I put down chords and vocals, Fran laid down some guitar noise and hi-hats, and Joe Russo laid down some synth pads, and we left it there. - Tom

Bounce Off The Bottom

I was writing a song last summer. It was sort of disco.. I didn’t finish it. Then a few months later I had the idea for a song with the guiding line “bounce off the bottom, window in the water”. The idea was when you’re at the bottom of the pool, you hit the bottom and look up through that little wavering window in the water.

I sat down at the guitar and I straight away fell on some chords which include one of my favourite chords, Dm7, which I first found when I tried to learn the Clash’s The Magnificent Seven (it is a magnificent 7). Those chords sat perfectly behind the lyric, and then without really thinking about it I moved straight into the chords I had for the disco song, which became my B section and then C section.  The song felt like it came together in real-time. Then I took it to the band the next day or the day after, and we just played on each of the three sections separately, feeling them out. Then we set about trying to stitch the personalities of each part so that they sat comfortably next to each other. And pretty quickly, we had it. We did it in one night.

Some songs just seem to present themselves like they always wanted to exist. It almost feels like excavating something that is already there. - Fran

Endless Rooms is out now on all digital services and will be released on physical formats (CD, black vinyl & Sub Pop’s limited edition Loser opaque yellow vinyl) on Friday 3 June 2022 through Ivy League Records.

Rolling Blackouts Coast Fever Endless Rooms Tour October 2022

Thursday 13 October     Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC

Friday 14 October           Freo Social, Fremantle, WA

Saturday 15 October      Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA

Friday 21 October           Northcote Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Saturday 22 October      The Gov, Adelaide, SA

Thursday 27 October     Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Friday 28 October           Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW