Civet - Massacre (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Massacre (2005)


Just out of high school, Civet's youth is an asset at this point; they've got many years ahead in which to define themselves. Being an all-female band they're going to be lumped with comparisons to L7, Joan Jett and the Distillers. Often namedropping like this is a result of lazy gender-focused journalism, but there's an element of truth to it in Civet's case, particularly with the Distillers. Liza Graves doesn't quite show the vocal range Brody Dalle displayed on Coral Fang (I know, I know, calm down) but the ever-present gang vocals between her, Suzi Homewrecker and Bombshell Brenz manage to cover it well enough. That Massacre sounds like the album Rancid should have written after their 2000 effort isn't going to silence the that observation either. Mind you that's not necessarily a bad couple of bands to be compared to, but the punk audience seems to throw all reason to the wind when the Distillers and/or Rancid enter the discussion. If anything, Civet's job now is to keep on rocking and prove themselves, despite the chattering of the rabble.

Massacre couldn't have started with a stronger triplet of songs, as there's a staggering amount of aggression packed into "Closet Death," "Bleed & Burn" and "State Line." Civet does the snotty teen-angst thing better than most, and nowhere is this more evident as in "Everything, Everything." Graves ends that track with a frenzied teardown of a loser boyfriend. It's funny and attention-grabbing and clearly sets the album's prevailing message: Civet's been wronged and they're out for blood. The band really comes into their own on the tracks "Extra" and "Handgun & Cocaine." Both are a bit more pop oriented and feature subdued (and purposely sloppy) group-sung verses that show the strength and potential of the band's shared vocal approach. If anything, it's that which will really set Civet apart in the long run. The album finishes with one too many revenge fantasies, and if we all chided Lars Frederiksen for uncomfortably dwelling on violent imagery on Viking, then we probably shouldn't give Civet a free pass either (although I do give them points for the "emo massacre" news report).

Duane Peters' production suits the record perfectly. As no stranger to what street-level Californian punk rock should sound like, he keeps Massacre appropriately rough and lively. For a young band I'm willing to overlook some of the shock-value imagery and lyricism brought forth here, but if Civet really wants to define themselves, that next step's going to be a crucial one.