CIVIC are a band from Boston led by Dana Osterling, who, along with Eric Bolton (guitar), Wayne Whittaker (bass, vocals) and Harrison Seiler (drums, percussion), weaves power pop and folk rock into CIVIC’s signature sound, her detailed writing allowing a close examination of important themes without forgoing a sense of immediacy or energy. Indeed, the rhythm and cadence of the delivery only adds to the feel, conveying a sense of urgency that matches both the upbeat sound and the importance of the lyrics.
Set for release this week, the second CIVIC album Face Blindness has been described as “a collage of inspiration and a response to an identity crisis”—a record exploring the multitude of depersonalising side effects of contemporary culture through a prosopagnosic lens, where the ability to recognise faces, even your own, is lost. This allows the band to prod at the paradoxes of modern life, especially those faced by women, who are expected to seek and receive attention, while at the same time achieve a state of ease or even reticence. CIVIC’s music plays off of such oxymoronic expectations, sounding bright and bouncy while charging at the quote unquote ‘serious’ stuff head on, thus refusing to be flattened into any reductive category of genre or mood.
Following previous singles ‘Selena Gomez’, which saw the Osterling take on the gender-biased expectations of manicured mainstream artists, and the more personal critique of ‘Not For Me’, we’re delighted to unveil the brand new track, ‘Down and Distant’. Playing as a wistful folk rock song, the track is build around, and indeed of, ambiguity—a nebulous collection of vague images and statements that coalesce into something like a reassurance, a long held conviction that doubt and uncertainty might not always be bad things. In this way, the track could serve as an summation for the record, or even a mission statement for CIVIC as a whole, revealing the ironies behind neat categorisation and favouring the less definite, the spaces outside and in between.
“Undone by distance,
obscured by clouds,
there’s nothing you can say
there’s nothing you can shout
You are cold and cryptic,
down and distant.
There’s nothing to worry about”
Photo by Andre Rober Beriau