Okay, right off the top, ‘Future Forecast‘ from Australian punks Civic, displays a band at the height of their powers. Their early output had many salivating at what was to come with two EPs in 2018; the furious punk rock of the 7-tracker ‘New Vietnam‘; the power-pop leanings of ‘Those Who No‘ (which includes a cover of Eno’s ‘Needles in the Camera’s Eye‘) as well as the raging 7″ single ‘Selling, Sucking, Blackmail, Bribes‘ in 2019. Civic was seemingly taking their sound for a test drive and around these parts, this full-length had been much anticipated.
The good news is that ‘Future Forecast‘ more than lives up to the anticipation and even though this is a debut, these guys have been around the block before with members from acts such as Leather Lickers, A.D Skinner, Drug Sweat, Pregnancy Scares, Whipper, and Cuntz. This music is so goddamn perfect, it’s a shot to the solar plexus for anyone who says rock and roll is dead.
Built upon a rock-solid foundation of proto-punk like the Stooges and Dead Boys, with a brilliant infusion of post-punk, glam, and power-pop, ‘Future Forecast‘ is a blast of noisy guitars from Lewis Hodgson and Darcy Grigg, propelled by the driving rhythm section of David Forcier on drums and Roland Hlavka on bass, all barely kept in check by the powerful everyman vocal delivery of frontman Jim McCullough. Civic manages to sound like something out of another time while coming across as fresh at the same time.
Perhaps it’s lazy to mention legendary Aussie bands like Radio Birdman and The Saints but the edgy punk energy and degree of songcraft of ‘Future Forecast‘ makes it impossible to not go there. One may also get a sense that the John Reis catalog might be in play here with elements of the punk rock fury and intelligent songwriting of Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes, and Drive Like Jehu. There’s even a saxophone interspersed throughout the record (Radiant Eye; Shake Like Death) and what sounds like a mournful steel guitar on ‘Tell the Papers‘.
Tracks like ‘Radiant Eye‘; ‘As Seen on TV‘; ‘Tell the Papers‘; and ‘Back To You‘ could almost find their way onto the alternative radio charts if there was such a thing anymore. Don’t worry if you really loved the ferocity of ‘New Vietnam‘ you’ll dig the punk fury of ‘Another Day’, as well as ‘Hollywood Nights in Hamburg‘, ‘Just a Fix‘ and ‘Velvet Casino‘ which all pulse with a Dead Boys sneer. The bruising hardcore battery of ‘Shake Like Death‘ will satisfy the pit crowd but the most interesting track here is the brooding post-punk dirge ‘Sunday Best‘. With its menacing bass, walloping drums, towering guitars, and McCullough’s poetic growl it seems to draw life from the gothic post-punk of Crime & the City Solution and maybe Civic is letting us know they have a lot more tricks up their sleeves.
This is easily an early contender for the best of 2021. Out now on Flightless Records.