Premiere: COALFALLS – ‘STEPHENSON STREET’ / ‘COALFALLS’

Words: James Frostick
Band image: Greg Harm
Cover art: Gary Abkin

Coalfalls – a new instrumental trio based in Ipswich, Queensland – will be putting forth its debut 7″ single on Friday April 17 through 4000 Records. Drenched in atmospherics, the two-track release is a sublime piece of dreamy shoegaze composition – a soothing balm for isolation-addled and anxiety-laden brains.

There’s enough fodder filtering through the news wire and our social-media feeds currently to induce a decade-spanning panic attack. I often use rain sounds as a go-to solution when I need to calm my mind, but a suitable alternative has always been instrumental music – something layered and lush and deep and distracting. Dream pop, shoegaze, ambient – it all does the trick. Ipswich trio Coalfalls craft and engrossing brand of music that includes elements of all three.

A relatively new outfit, Coalfalls’ members have brought together their respective experience in the realms of visual and sound arts to collaborate on the project. Names aren’t given freely, with tongue-in-cheek pseudonyms such as Tonestar Le Ru (guitar), Beats Master Will (drums) and Riff Lord (bass) the only identification offered. Additionally, the band’s garb is akin to a uniform – right down to the matching sneakers. This obfuscation of personality serves to position Coalfalls as a singular entity, rather than an amalgam of individual facets. It pays off, as without surface-level distraction it forces attention towards the music. We don’t dwell on who is crafting it and how – just where it takes us.

Coalfalls’ debut 7″ boasts two tracks, ‘Stephenson Street’ and ‘Coalfalls’, each named after places (FYI – Coalfalls is the name of the suburb in which two members of the band reside). From this we can infer that the band draws upon its surroundings to inform the music, perhaps the emotions stirred up by these places. Ipswich, while not far from Brisbane, is part gateway to the wide-open spaces of regional South East Queensland. The dreamy music of Coalfalls is similarly expansive – a deep breath in followed by a lengthy exhalation. It’s meditative, but not overlong. There’s a tightness in the execution that allows the music room to be – loose while still technically impressive. It takes a lot of skill to sound this free. Both tracks boast a clarity of sound and each instrument sounds like it was given equal attention in the mix. Silky guitars weave in and around the rhythm section – at times the tone reaches a fever pitch and others it dissipates into nothing but subtle gestures. Over two tracks, Coalfalls have masterfully executed a blissful listening experience – one that lessens the volume of my inner monologue and quells the drag of any anxiety present in the moment. Great stuff.

Coalfalls will officially release the ‘Stephenson Street’ / ‘Coalfalls’ double single (available in an edition of 50 hand-numbered 7″ records) on Friday April 17 through 4000 Records. Each copy will come with a unique polaroid taken by band members from around the suburb of Coalfalls. Get yours here