Review: Civil Elegies “Aesthetics”

Review: Civil Elegies “Aesthetics”

“Aesthetics” is pretty heavy going. Both in terms of music and the retrospective subject matter (which is best understood by reading the authour’s notes on the bandcamp release of the album). This record is angular, dissonant and extremely aggressive.  And yet…it’s really pretty catchy. In the same way a hammer to the head is catchy.

Civil Elegies "Aesthetics" // Self-release 2015
Civil Elegies “Aesthetics” // Self-release 2015

“The Answer, The Problem” is easily my favourite song of 2015 so far. It’s screeching walls of noise can’t do anything to hide its stellar hook and bellow along chorus. It’s this kind of nervous energy that drives the album, proof positive that live recordings are still the best way to capture this kind of visceral chemistry. “Drown In Spit” is another excellent example of this edge of your seat spontaneous song-writing approach with the brooding “Nothing Else” delivering what is sure to be one of the most pulverising and intense climaxes of the year.

The most interesting aspect of this record, to me anyway, is that I feel as if the drums are leading the record when I listen to it. The noisy and chaotic nature of the guitars on this record feel much more percussive than guitars typically do in rock music and it somehow serves highlights the incredible drumming as a driving force. That might well be nonsense, but it sounds like it might be kind of clever so I’m sticking with it.

“Aesthetics” is not for the faint hearted. This is as intense as music can get, both emotionally and sonically. Riffs aren’t hooks, melodies aren’t important and an uncontrollable explosion of expression is all that really matters here. Which makes this album incredibly exciting, and unnerving, to listen to.

But it does also make it very difficult to listen to. Easy listening was a nonsense term before I heard this record, because now I fully understand what a challenging listen is.


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