DEVELOPING a distinct and compelling sound, can have positives and negatives.
Initially it creates an identity fans can flock to, but after a while those claustrophobic signs of being pigeon-holed can stifle creativity.
Across two EPs and the thrilling albums Hope Downs (2018) and Sideways To New Italy (2020), Melbourne five-piece Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have perfected their duelling jangly and angular guitar sound that conjures up the majesty of The Go-Betweens.
Much like the title promises, album No.3 Endless Rooms sees Rolling Blackouts C.F unwind the tension and expand their music with greater space. This is no reinvention, but an album of safe exploration.
Where the triple guitar-vocal attack of songwriters Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White once tussled with each other for prominence, Endless Rooms provides them, as well as bassist Joe Russo and drummer Marcel Tussie, with space to breathe.
The closing Bounce Off The Bottom is a clear example. Where once the track would have stampeded to its end with frenzied guitar, this time Rolling Blackouts C.F offer a calming organ and glockenspiel for added depth.
On The Way It Shatters an undercurrent of synths flesh out what would normally be Rolling Blackouts C.F by numbers. The thrilling Blue Eye Lake is another that benefits from unravelling their tight-knit sound.
Dive Deep is mid-tempo waltz with ends with a thrilling guitar riff and the dreamy and meandering Open Up Your Window, offers another welcome change of pace.
However, they haven't abandoned the jostling guitar punch they're renown for. My Echo is bristling as it is anthemic as Endless Rooms' answer to Talking Straight.
Rolling Blackouts C.F's political angst have been mentioned briefly on Hope Downs' Mainland, but on Endless Rooms those feelings are more readily expressed.
On The Way It Shatters White sings,"It's desolation by rote/ All around your home/ If you were in the boat/ would you turn the other way?"
Endless Rooms is an album of a band changing, without losing track of what brought them initial success.