Indeed Hope Downs takes its name from a sprawling open-cut mine in Western Australia. The feeling of standing at the edge of the big, vast abyss unites the tracks, which tell stories of small characters with enormous worlds that are baffling and confusing.
‘Time In Common’ was influenced by one such baffling moment, being in the acropolis in Greece and overhearing an Aussie contiki trip at the next table talking about the 2000 Essendon Football Team. Sitting with his girlfriend against the ancient Acropolis, Fran felt they were two flashes in the pan in the grand scheme of time. He describes the upbeat but reflective track as “A morbid love song,” which captures the bittersweet nature of each song on the album.
Joe’s favourite track ‘Exclusive Grave’ is similarly oxymoronic. He described how the riff-based tune sounds like a party, but is really about evil political leaders eventually finding themselves in a grave, because that’s where everyone ends up anyway. “Even the crap people die,” Fran added, and the two chuckled about the optimistic fatalism of the track.
This sense of the world being dark but hopeful permeates the album, which is full of angsty, but beautiful and far-reaching melodies. Compared to their previous EPs, the sound on Hope Downs is “widescreen” and “cinematic”. The ten tracks are gentle but urgent, examining the short-sightedness of humanity, but finding reassurance in the small things.
Hope Downs is out today and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are launching it with a free show at Old Bar (Melbourne) tonight before returning to Australia this September for their biggest national tour yet.
Words by Hayley Franklin.