CIVIL UNION – Seasick, Lovedrunk LP

Album: Seasick, Lovedrunk

Artist: Civil Union

Label: Melted Ice Cream

Release Date: May 20, 2016

www.meltecicecream.co.nz (via 12XU in the U.S.)

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The upshot: A powerful statement that hearkens back to the NZ and Aussie noisemongers, recording for maverick labels like Xpressway and Red Eye/Black Eye, of the ‘80s and early ‘90s.

BY FRED MILLS

“These guys are completely dry inside and you can feel that hopeless feeling in their music—great dark riffs that show us a different way of making music. Goth Post Punk, or as they call themselves, Antipodean Gothic Perfection.”

Indeed. On this vinyl release, Civil Union, a New Zealand three-piece would seem to revel in dark misery, as if songtitles like “Death Clings to Your Clothes,” “Loves Makes Slaves of Us All,” and “Come and Pray and Flourish” don’t telegraph precisely that. The latter song alone, which boasts a low, clanging, bass-strings powered riff and evil-twang fretboard flourishes and sounds uncannily like midperiod—speaking of Antipodean—Scientists, is uncommonly bleak, although from the chaos a remarkable sense of catharsis unfolds, too. Meanwhile, “My Father Below” mines dissonance for sonic gold, the part-moaned/part-chanted vocal upping the nails-on-blackboard sense of unease. And “Death Clings to Your Closed” comes across along country-blues noir lines, the band swaying mournfully as in a cabaret waltz that’s destined to end in tragedy.

All in all, a powerful statement that hearkens back to the NZ and Aussie noisemongers, recording for maverick labels like Xpressway and Red Eye/Black Eye, of the ‘80s and early ‘90s. The statement at the start of this, incidentally, doesn’t come from a formal review of or feature about Civil Union, but rather from a satisfied fan commenting on the website of the trio’s website. And it pretty nicely summarizes the dark, enveloping sound of Seasick, Lovedrunk. While Anthony Sheehan-Drent, Alessandra Banal and Perry Mahoney aren’t exactly reinventing the post-punk wheel here, they still manage to roll it a good ways down the hill, and woe be upon anyone who thinks he can stand his ground as it tumbles their way.

DOWNLOAD: “Death Clings to Your Clothes,” “Come and Pray and Flourish,” “Follow the Red Herring

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