Words: James Frostick
Image: Julian Hocking
After puncturing eardrums with their hardy brand of dauntless rock and roll, CIVIC return with a new 7” release that sees the group change gears and find a new cruising speed. ‘Pleasure’ is the lead single from the four-song collection Those Who No, a track that evidences growth and composure while still displaying plucky punk sentiments that helped propel CIVIC to notoriety.
Hate is a strong word, but a passionate dislike for someone manifests in many ways. Aside from the need to utter passive aggressive remarks or resolutely ignoring their presence in public, a sure sign you aren’t fond of a person is how much they occupy your mind. The imagination is a weird thing and, as bleak as it is, it’s not uncommon to imagine harm coming to someone you despise. CIVIC’s new single, ‘Pleasure’ seems to ruminate on fetishising conflict – deriving joy from the thought of the misfortune of others. Yeah, like I said – bleak.
“When I’m lyin’ down in bed, there’s nothing better than the thought of you dead / When the only thing in my brain, is the pleasure of bringing you pain”
As anthemic as it sounds upon first listen, ‘Pleasure’ plays less like an ode to violence and more an insight into the struggle we have with contentious inter-personal relationships, and how our emotions hold sway over reason. I doubt vocalist Jim McCullough is actively pursing physical resolutions to his issues, but perhaps he’s been left with nothing but brutal daydreams and flights (or fights) of fancy. Like a callous cobbler encasing his enemy’s feet in concrete before flinging them off a pier, such visceral imagery might evoke a primitively joyous response if were happing to the antagonist of a film, but fisticuffs take on a new level of seriousness when no longer fiction. It might even be commentary on our violence-obsessed culture (or I could be way off base with my analysis), but ‘Pleasure’ is a confronting listen for all its disheveled groove.
As for the musicianship itself, this track’s definitely got some heat to it. Blistering guitars whip up the mixture early – needling and twangy interplay over a quick-stepping pummel, with gang-style vocals in the chorus adding to the frenzy. On Those Who No, the crew are messing about with the sonics that one might be familiar with from New Vietnam, dipping into the well for some new sound before feeding it to the wood chipper. Experimentation is always good, and the prodding pays off particularly well on ‘Pleasure’.
Those Who No is being released on November 9 in Australian and Europe through Anti Fade, while USA label Famous Class is spreading the love across the US and UK. The rest of the 7” is primo – you can take my word for it. PRE-ORDER HERE.