A lot of songs come through the hallowed pages of TBE and many of them leave me wanting to hear more from a band. Many of them are even part of EPs that seem full of promise. But few have ever had as pumped for new material as the internationally Australian duo Civil Civic. Ever since “Less Unless” not so gently removed my eardrums (and most of my clothes) nearly 2 years agoÂ I have been on board. Further releases have left me both less and more impressed (“Run Overdrive” and “Street Trap” respectively). Civil Civic are a lot like your alcoholic dropout brother. You are hard on him because you have high expectations but you know that even if he screws up you will still love him (It helps that Ben writes the sharpest tour blog around). Thank god this brother didn’t screw up. Instead they took their sweet time crafting Rules, one of the best records that unfortunatelyÂ nobodyÂ will be listening to this year. Their brand of instrumental psychoÂ billy electronic thrash folk isn’t exactly radio fodder. Although anyone with half an ear for listening between the lines will understand that something significant is happening with this music.
While I am usually annoyed when previously released songs come back to clutter up an LP (looking at you Theophilus…) there is something comforting in half of this debut consisting of old friends like the ones above, “Lights On A Leash” and “Fuck Youth.” Album opener “Airspray” brings what sounds like the grandest xylophone riffing head to head with shredding guitars and some sort ofÂ angelicÂ vocal texture to create what is currently contending for my top CC track ever. “Grey Nurse” goes all surfer spy movie with shark-top chase scenes and luau-lit mud wrestling. If all that sounds a bit to rich for your lazy ass then “Mayfield” drops just the kind of gentle respite one needs after 8 tracks in a row of death defying sonic adventure. Try and keep your lovemaking session into under 5 minutes and 22 seconds and everyone should make it out unscathed because “Slack Year” closes things out with a kind ofÂ apocalypticÂ 80s disco KumbayaÂ psychedeliaÂ that only Civil Civic can cook up.
(review continued after the unofficial video for “Airspray.” Plus stream the whole album!)
The interesting thing about Civil Civic is that they are an instrumental band. Now them being instrumental is not interesting by itself â€“ a lot of bands are instrumental â€“ but it’s interesting because that fact had never registered in my brain until I read it a few days ago. “Really?” I thought. And then taking a moment to run through the songs I knew in my head I confirmed that this was in fact true. Weird. The thing is that Civil Civic never feel like an instrumental group. Despite being the ruckus of only 2 men (and one “Box”) their music often seems to talk. It’s complexities,Â rhythms, beats, riffs, and rough patches all communicate. The songs emote in the way a vocalist does when singing. I often find myself “singing along” to these tracks even though there are no words. Again, weird.
So what have we learned? First of all, I only posted tracks that I have posted before but still feel that they are strong enough to sell you on the album. Second,Â I am clearly a mega Civil Civic fan and my opinions should not be trusted as objective. Third, fcuk objective. If you don’t believe me then you are wrong. Fourth, Civil Civic’s debut album Rules is out now on vinyl, CD, and as digital download (buy here). They produced it themselves, raised money through fans, and released it on their own label. Like their noises or not, this is the music business at it purest and you can’t argue with that.