Words: James Frostick
Naarm/Melbourne gutter-rock all-stars CIVIC continue to build momentum towards the release of its debut long-play record Future Forecast (out later this month on Flightless Records) with second single ‘Tell The Papers’. This auditory assault, while direct and relentless, conveys a far-out tale that traverses time and space – existential subject matter put to a soundtrack that’s best suited for shaking those heavy thoughts out of your noggin.
The lead-in to CIVIC’s newbie ‘Tell The Papers’ feels like a countdown to launch. We’re not strapped into some ordinary rocketship – it’s pieced together out of janky equipment, its operating system is a bootleg copy uploaded from an unmarked CD-R and its powered by some dubious fuel source. Is there an oxygen supply? Not sure, but it doesn’t matter – where we’re going, we don’t need earthly materials. A singular scratchy guitar scramble ekes out a few bars before being joined by some taught snare snaps and wired strum, ramping up in intensity until the ignition switch is flipped. As we shoot up and away, CIVIC coalesces and quickly rips into a breakneck slab of its signature rock ‘n’ roll rumpus. Skittering guitar licks, smooth slide guitar peals, tireless percussive battering, supple and sneering vocals – all hallmarks of the band’s potent sound that dutifully pays homage to the music of several iconic punk and 70s gutter-rock progenitors (Raw Power-era Stooges, Radio Birdman, The Saints, The Celibate Rifles, Dead Boys, et al), yet doused in contemporary flair and buoyed by an all-consuming focus on rhythm.
All that said, ‘Tell The Papers’ sees CIVIC making inroads into new territory, at least conceptually. To me it seems the band’s on a mission here, or are at least the group is intent on filling us in on an adventure that stretches beyond the realm of reality – a “voyage bent through time“. We’re on a fact-finding mission or a ‘manhunt’, of sorts – searching for God, the great perpetrator, the figure responsible for everything and with a lot to answer for. Whether CIVIC ends up find its quarry isn’t clear, but as bright lights flash as we tumble through the tunnels of time and space to crash-land back home, I’m left with the realisation that though CIVIC’s music is grounded in the dogged ferociousness of street-savvy punk, its ambitions may no longer be terrestrial. I can’t fathom what this might mean for Future Forecast as a whole, but I’m fucking excited, to say the least.
Listen to ‘Tell The Papers’ below, which comes accompanied by a visual treatment directed and filmed by Oscar O’Shea.