Wednesday 9 November 2011

Civil Civic - Rules

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on

'Rules' is an apt name for this curious first outing from Civil Civic. Their own rules are something they adhere to rigidly, resulting in an album that's low in variety but high in energy, as they threaten throughout to cross the fine line into the Pendulum school of juvenile electro-rock bombast. It's something they avoid, but only just.

These ten tracks are entirely instrumental and comprised of fuzz-treated bass and crisp, clear guitar lines accompanied by occasional electronics and, of course, 'The Box', Civil Civic's robotic third member who not only acts as a drum machine but as a stage presence and light show too. You'd have thought that as so much effort was evidently used in creating this device they'd have bothered programming in a few extra beats apart from the seemingly default setting of 'basic'.

If we listen to this album without wearing our snobby hat it becomes apparent that 'Rules' wasn't built for chin-stroking critical dissection, its aim is simple: big, dumb, unadulterated fun; music to jump around to rather than analyse. If you're willing to let your inhibitions go this is a relatively enjoyable record, if not a particularly challenging one. The resistance to variation becomes tiring when listened to in one go, but it also means that Civil Civic achieve their goal and you have to commend them for sticking to their guns. When the format works well, as on the high octane fuzz of 'Less Unless', you can perfectly understand where they're coming from, but there are times when you wish they'd invest in a couple more effects pedals.

'Rules' is decent enough but how on earth they can stretch this format out over another album is anyone's guess. A change will be needed or it could be that the band, like the music they make, will have a pretty short shelf-life.

Civil Civic's website

Free download: Street Trap

Buy the album.

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