Words: James Frostick
Band image: Julian Hocking

Gutter-rock goons Civic are keeping one lead foot on the accelerator with a brand-new scuzzed-up double-hitter. As one half of a split release with Anti Fade Records and Floridian label Total Punk, Civic’s newest 7″ contains a speedy racket / venomous spray that contains the band’s signature sonic fury, but with a tempo and directness that has been dialled up a few notches.

Is Civic one of my favourite Australian bands operating at the moment? They very well might be. Why? It’s sort of hard to say, which is funny when this whole endeavour is based on me articulating feelings about music. There’s just something incredibly incendiary about Civic’s music that is hard to ignore, and every time the band releases a song I stop and take notice. In 2018 the band cemented their status as fresh princes of Melbourne’s rockin’ underground with the New Vietnam 12″ and ‘Those Who No‘ EP, and now the group has got a hot little twofer being released through the perpetually solid Anti Fade Records and US label Total Punk, which distributes records from Australia’s crème de la crème (Terry, Ausmuteants, Hierophants, Eastlink, Miss Destiny) in addition to the globe’s finest.

Much like Civic’s previous two releases, ‘Selling Sucking Blackmail Bribes’ and ‘Velvet Casino’ (the latter you’ll need to wait to hear) boast a pummelling drive – rest assured that these tracks are as immediate as ever in their explosive din. Slightly different that before is a purposeful shift to a lower fidelity palette – a crackle and fizz that gives the vibe that the five-piece wrote and recorded the two tracks in a burst of spontaneous activity. These tracks lean towards a punishing hardcore template more-so over their glam influences, emphasising brutally hoarse vocals and sonic chop.

‘Selling, Sucking, Blackmail, Bribes’ kicks off at a gallop, and listeners are treated to a verbal spray from vocalist Jim McCullogh. It’s fun to picture this as a verbal tirade following on the one dispensed on ‘Pleasure’, except this time Jim has done away with restraint in favour of a gnashing spew. The second track, ‘Velvet Casino’, ignites with a gutsy rhythmic chug overlaid with some scorching guitar rips – well-oiled, torqued-up jack-in-the-box that relives an incalculable level of PSI in one mighty blast. Both tracks look to become some of my favourites – high-voltage additions to a burgeoning back catalogue.

Looping back quickly, I’d say that Civic’s main hook is how the band’s songs boast a restorative quality. They’ve got an undeniable knack for penning and ripping off catchy numbers, and with Jim McCullogh’s beer-soaked rabble-rousing delivery in the mix, Civic’s tracks can handily trump any funk my mind’s in. Civic is a batch of fireworks exploding dangerously close to flammable liquid – it’s hard to tear your attention away, and it always runs the risk of burning the house down.

Pre-order your copy of the release here ahead of the 7″ official drop on July 26, then mark Saturday July 20 in your calendars – Civic will be playing Aarght Records’ No Fun on the Beach 2 alongside ROT T.V., Pistol Peaches, Floodlights, The Snakes and more.