Civil Elegies – For The Consideration Of Amateur Jockeys

Posted by Toni Spencer

Civil Elegies - For The Consideration Of Amateur Jockeys
Glasgow noise rock/post-punk trio Civil Elegies released their second album back in November, their second album of 2015, having only formed in the January of 2014.  They’ve crammed in a lot in such a short time, which might go some way to explain For The Consideration Of Amateur Jockeys.

There’s a real DIY feels to proceedings, evident from the opener Children On The Road.  It would seem that the music and instrumentation is what’s important to them.  The vocals are very much in the background; whether or not this is intentional is unclear.  Since the vocals aren’t all that prominent, it might suggest that Civil Elegies are a band to be enjoyed in a live setting – just for the experience alone, which, from what’s heard on the album, is sweaty, explosive and incredibly loud.  If anything, For The Consideration Of Amateur Jockeys is muted and reserved compared to how I’ve imagined a live show.

The album was recorded in a day – and now that I know that, I can definitely hear it.  It sounds spontaneous and a bit like a recording of a band rehearsal.  This also makes it sound a little rushed through.  Sometimes that works; sometimes thinking about it too much can spoil it.  That being said, nothing sounds accidental.  The downside to everything on the album is that it fast becomes forgettable as one track leads into another; eventually, they all start to sound alike.  Again, this might have something to do with how I imagine a live gig would be.  Recording an album seems to be something bands just ‘do’ these days.  Something is definitely lost in the recording of For The Consideration Of Amateur Jockeys and I don’t think it’s done Civil Elegies any favours.

It’s cited as being more adventurous than their last album – and I have to agree that it is ambitious, at least in part.  Trying to get a sound this large, brash and explosive onto a record is a big ask.  As much as I’m convinced that Civil Elegies are an incredible live band (and I hope to find out for myself one day), I’m equally sure that putting this into a few tracks on an album takes away much of what I think makes them so enjoyable – the performance.

Fans of this particular genre will no doubt lap this right up, but I wonder if it can go further than that and bring in some new listeners who haven’t had the pleasure of a live performance – and the inevitable bumps and bruises to show for it.

Sertraline‘s intro is a small shock to the system – if only because it isn’t a mash of noise.  Don’t worry, though, it soon returns back to cacophonous and strangely enjoyable din with shouted, gravelly vocals  The biggest twist comes right at the end in the form of In Your Name.

This isn’t for playing in the background, this is for cranking up as loud as your stereo or player will allow without sounding dreadful and stomping/leaping/hurling yourself at walls and a having an absolute blast.  Here’s a tip: instead of punching that wall/your boss/your brother/the idiot drunkard in the pub etc, pop this on and let it all out, whether that’s locked inside your bedroom or running like the wind out in the wild.

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Posted by: Toni Spencer, 20th February 2016