Civic Green

Civic Green: Sailing The RiverCivic Green


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Civic Green are a new melodic four-piece alternative rock band from the former mining heartlands of South Yorkshire who are starting to make some significant waves on the local live circuit. After witnessing a recent gig, Ian Corbridge gets a lowdown on the band for Louder Than War and reviews their debut EP, Sailing The River.

It’s always great when you stumble across a new band who immediately make a real impression on you. Fortunately, with my desire to always try and catch the support bands at gigs, this has happened quite a few times over the years. And on one recent Friday night as I ventured back to my childhood home of Sheffield to catch Rosellas at Record Junkee, I certainly got more than I had bargained for when Civic Green came onto the stage as the main support band. By the end of the second song in the set I knew I had to find out more about these local lads and what brought them together.

Civic Green comprise Danny Hall on vocals and guitar, Matt Walker on lead guitar, Andy Lowman on bass and Gav Darley on drums. The impetus for the band really came from Danny and Andy who have known each other from a very young age. With the inspiration of songs like Champagne Supernova running around their heads and fuelling a desire to strum guitars and write songs of their own, it was inevitable that they would try and form a band once they left school. But that’s often easier said than done!

Civic Green

Having tried out various new band members through word of mouth and local channels, they decided to place an online ad, which is when Gav stepped forward, also bringing along his long-term mate Matt. And that’s when Civic Green really emerged as a band, having now played together since 2019. Following the release of two early singles, they have now finally produced their first physical release in the EP, Sailing The River.

In terms of their sound, the one thing that immediately struck me when seeing them live was how instantly memorable most of the songs are, with big melodic overtones and huge rousing chorus lines. While there is clearly a big influence from the Britpop/ 90’s indie and alternative rock era in terms of their song structure, there is also clearly a lot more melding together to produce the very distinctive sound that they now have. Notably the band cite other strong influences from the likes of The Beatles, Frank Turner and Bruce Springsteen and I can definitely hear that in the songs they have released so far. But they are also clearly absorbing much of what surrounds them now, especially from the live circuit.

The five-track EP kicks off with A Million Little Pieces which was inspired by a chord in You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gerry And The Pacemakers. With a clear nod back to 90’s indie rock and an anthemic chorus embellished by a magnificent string arrangement, this is an impressive way to announce your arrival. With lyrics like “These strangers they keep coming back for more” and “It’s time to give the people what they want”, this feels like a real statement of intent which may ultimately prove more prophetic than they realise right now…..but only time will tell on that one.

Nothing In My Way is a real message of positivity with a focus on facing up to things and dealing with them, as they will probably only come back to bite you if you don’t. The opening line, “There’s sunshine in my soul today” says it all, as it leads through into another big singalong chorus. Nowhere Close has a much harder rock’n’roll edge about it, with a narrative focused on dreaming about better things in life whilst also acknowledging where we are now. The song also inspired the EP title through the message that we are all just sailing the river of life and taking it as it comes.

Surrender slows it back down again with a heartfelt ballad which undoubtedly has sonic leanings towards U2 but is imbued with the emotive vocal sound of the Stone Roses in their prime. With lines like “The good shines out of you like a lighthouse in a storm” what’s not to like!

Closing song The Writing’s On The Wall proves to be an epic finale as its opens with a guitar sound which takes me back to Dear Prudence from The Beatles’ White Album era and signals something big is about to happen….and it does. It’s a majestic song with all the swagger and craft of early Oasis, soaring melodies, another rousing string arrangement and a great guitar solo from Matt.

Also worth noting is that physical copies of the EP include their two early singles, There Is Always A Light and City Streets, both of which show all the uplifting spirit and power that has carried forward into the songs on this EP.

There is no doubt in my mind that Sailing The River delivers all the promise that I first heard in Civic Green’s recent live performance and their penchant for big melodies and soaring choruses should take them forward onto much bigger stages than they are playing on right now. As they continue to play the more local live circuit, the band are now in the process of booking a tour early in 2023 to expand their horizons and visit new towns and cities, so you are well advised to check them out.

You can buy the EP here or stream it here.

You can find Civic Green on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Bandcamp.


All words by Ian Corbridge. You can find more of his writing at his author profile.

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