We’ve been on top of what’s coming out of Australia for a while and along with Stiff Richards we’ve championed Civic from their EP ‘New Vietnam’ (five years ago) to their debut album (Future Forecast) and the much anticipated ‘Taken By Force’.

The cassette ‘live on PBS’ was in on heavy rotation at HQ hipster mobile tape deck for ages until the tape snapped. Thankfully, Civic have their act together and their albums are now readily available on this side of the spinning rock which is marvellous. No more crazy import prices for our rock n roll imports all of that and a short UK tour this summer.

‘Taken By Force’ is eleven songs including the opener/intro with its siren and military snare march entitled ‘Dawn’ before the “rough as” punk rock snarl of ‘End Of The Line’ kicks in. It’s got an air of confidence about it – they know they’re onto something with songs that kick ass and rock and roll with the attitude of their forefathers the likes of The Saints, Radio Birdman and MC5 all obvious influences, Civic have most certainly got the chops and the tunes to back it up and go toe to toe with anyone. These guys walk the walk and talk the talk.

The title track has a rasping acoustic guitar lying underneath the electric guitar as the gang vocals spit out the verses toward the chorus before heading back to the start. It’s not rocket science its just the beauty of writing resonating Rock n Roll garage style and doing it oh so well. I love the guitar solo thats like tryign to ride a wild horse without any saddle and that beast is pissed but you do it anyway and do it with style.

The songs generally weigh in at the sub three minutes which is short enough for anyone to deal with especially when its got the tempo of a runaway train like ‘Fly Song’. Trick of The Light’ is the exception to the rule clocking in over five minutes long. Sounding like a masterclass in The Hangmen style as its brooding tempo and swagger its a real banger as it grows like a shadow engulfing a wall.

Hang onto your strides because ‘Born In The Heat’ comes in like a rampant jaguar galloping with menace. I’ve only had it to play for a few days and I feel like I’ve been playing it for months the ebb and flow are excellent and the songs change as to what’s better the slower numbers or the out-and-out rockers. ‘Neighbor Sadist’ slashes from slower menace to out and out swinger with Lou Reid New York era poking me but with a bit more venom in the delivery.

‘Time Girl’ is just wham bang thank you man as it races to a conclusion. ‘Blood Rushes’ has grown and grown on me with its measured tempo and melody before the record signs off with the lapping of the waves of ‘Dusk’ signs off quite left of centre but it does help sooth the savage beast after quite a workout leaping around to ‘Taken By Force’. If you’re not already on board then do yourself a favour and get on it – you wont regret it at all. Civic gotta love em the abslutely rock!

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Author: Dom Daley

US rockers Drive-By Truckers roll into the summer of 2022 with the release of an impressive 14th studio album. ‘Welcome 2 Club XIII’ sees the band step away from the politically oriented releases of the last few years, and instead focus and what the band describes as “a reckoning with the dualities of the things that make you alive and how they sometimes can kill you. A life-affirming flashlight for the dark nights of one’s soul.”

Dark nights are certainly the appropriate setting to accompany this album. The trudging riff of album opener ‘The Driver’, where we go “driving sometimes late into the night”, are offset by some ghostly vocals, all wrapped up in a fully atmospheric 7 minutes. By the second song ‘Maria’s Awful Disclosure’, the album is already opening up, sitting comfortably in a breezy southern rock world of cool.

The record is a wonderful tour through many of the things that make Drive-By Truckers so well-loved – shades of light and dark folk, country and rock and roll, all with a gritty but delicate delivery. From the warm ‘Shake and Pine’ to the somewhat joyous title track and first single (“a tongue in cheek homage to a local dive that founding members Cooley and Hood played in their early days”), or the melancholy of ‘We will never wake you up in the morning’, the album travels various yet always complementary paths converging together in a glorious 9 sweet tracks.

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Author: Craggy Collyde