Usually, the word ‘instrumental’ brings to mind an image of a well-poised orchestra, but in the case of Civil Civic, their album is a crazy jam session between two incredibly creative musicians complete with guitars, keyboards and ‘the box’.

Aaron Cupples and Ben Green, along with their sound-looping, beat-making ‘box’ of technology, are Civil Civic, and Rules is their long awaited debut.

The record kicks off with the feel-good tune “Airspray”, which instantly sets an fast-paced, energetic tone with a catchy chorus, followed by “Run Overdrive”, a track which sounds like a perfect combination of surf garage rock and synthy-modern-pop, creating an awesome, jaunty vibe.

“Street Trap” serves up an upbeat, crazy blast of delicious noise in the form of a punchy bass line, whereas “Grey Nurse” wouldn’t sound out of place as a theme song for a late 20th century crime show, sounding like a church-organ hymn before a drum roll and drop into a frenzy of minor electric guitar brilliance.

“It’s Krill” bounces back with an indie-electro pop vibe with a squirming fuzz of guitar before the re-worked piece, “Less Unless”, from their 2010-released EP, shines through and shows off the talent of Cupples and Green through an organised chaos of ridiculously catchy guitar riffs.

In comparison, the intensity is suddenly stripped back with “Mayfield”, which instantly takes a different mindset and sounds like a reminiscent, nostalgic ballad without the heartfelt insight into a lyricist’s life.

Adhering to the genre of the rest of the songs on the album, “Slack Year” rounds it off with one final, well-aimed kick at gritty, drawn-out riffs and compelling keyboard workouts fused with energy, before slowly fading into a warm, gooey pool of warped keyboard and instrumental bliss, leaving you itching to hear more.

Love Classic Rock?

Get the latest Classic Rock news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

What they lack in the form of a vocalist, Civil Civic make up for in almost every other aspect. Though it took two years to carefully piece together Rules, this beautiful racket was worth the work; it’s absolutely brilliant.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine