Monday, 2 September 2013

Civil Protection - Stolen Fire

Album review by

Someone once said of someone somewhere "what a glorious racket they make", and this can be said of Civil Protection. And what spellbinding glory it is. Harnessing the post-rock dynamics and power of scene acolytes such as MBV and Mogwai, delivering vast soundscapes across your frontal lobes. Opening track on their album 'Strike The Match, Light The Fuse' is a swift palette cleanser before 'My Memories Will Be Part Of The Sky' truly welcomes us into the album. It houses a true intensity; like being hit by a solar flare while in your Y-fronts. But it is far from a senseless pummelling, and the song effortlessly switches from the pulverising to taking you into the eye of the storm, before unleashing another hit of barely controlled fury.

After 'My Memories…' sheer power, 'Alaska' steps into view, seducing you into it with restrained, skyscraping guitar before fully pulling you in with a interstellar overdrive of controlled sonic intensity. Then we are given the first taste of vocals. Although buried within the layers, they add a humane colour, and an aching Thom York falsetto stretches the song into a truly epic space. Swimming into your headspace, 'Many Moons Ago' is the calming yin to 'Alaska''s pounding yang. It unfurls with grace and precision. Gliding you in on graceful guitars, building and building, until unfolding and laying open its glory. Echoed, cathedral vocals only add to the wonderment of it all. A truly mesmerising song.

'Section 47' is a brief interlude before 'From the Parish to the Pavement', the darkest song yet to hit us. Recalling Godspeed You Black Emperor's sheer wall of white noise, 'From The…' lurches and hits you with an unnerving sense of menace, like the lost score to a twisted 'This is England'.  It codas out on some truly sinister, blackened metal riffing. While punishing, it has an irresistible nature that draws you in, that you simply have to hear. With a seductive, hammering, barely suppressed rage 'Redrawn' doesn't allow you catch your breath. Instead it coats you in sonic fire that consumes but is so raw that it becomes a cathartic experience to travel through. Then there is 'Mondeula'. It is the sound of Rutger Hauer’s replicant final moments as he tells of, "the attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion… tears in the rain". It is a song that is perfectly measured with sublime beauty and elegance. Final and title-track 'Stolen Fire' encompasses all that Civil Protection have to offer. It builds powerfully, delights with layers of serenity and intensity, while never loosing cohesion. Delivering a spellbinding conclusion to an ambitious, grand, enriching album. Civil Protection have shown that they are easily the match of their peers and where they take us next will be one ride I want to be on.

Civil Protection's website

'Stolen Fire' is out October 7th on Bunnysnot Records

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