If you have been a regular London gig-goer for the last five years, you may be familiar with the malefic yet ethereal sounds of post-punk band Civil Partnership; a sound often compared to that of late 90’s trip-hop, a sound that I believe can be comparable to that of The Cure’s ‘Pornography’ album. Dramatic and dark with a sense of ambiance and distance, the sound of alienation.
If you have been to one of these dream-like performances, you are most definitely familiar with their debut single ‘Good Morning Britain’, a song of British political culture and the alienation that is a product of the media.
Other than its heavy synth and drums and eerie guitar lines that create an impending sense of doom, the song has a repetitive, gloomy-sounding bass line that is present throughout. This encapsulates the feeling that living in Britain, particularly a metropolis such as London, carries; although exciting, can eventually become repetitive and predictable.
Particularly in the political world where the actions made by those in power continually disrupt and divide the British masses, creating recurring dispute and slander, ultimately leading to a state of chaos or destruction. As a result, people are left alienated and forgotten. This process is depicted in the song's climax, where the vocals overlap each other and become distorted and mangled, drums and guitar progressively increase in aggression, even the bass line becomes more fast-paced. The entire tone of the song leaves repetition to join chaos.
The vocals used in ‘Good Morning Britain’ also depict the warped idea of British politics and feelings of alienation. According to Civil Partnership on hashbrandnew.com, the song’s lyrics inhabit ‘absurd worldviews presented in internet comment sections and – increasingly – overheard on South London streets.
When I saw Civil Partnership perform at the Shacklewell Arms, there was light laughter amongst the crowd when lead vocalist, Jack George Smith, spoke the lyrics: ‘Every day I get up just to watch Good Morning Britain/ But only on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ‘cause those are the days Piers Morgan is on/ I just love to see that guy argue’ – We find ourselves laughing to this as we understand the enjoyment in just watching people argue for the sake of it. We find pleasure in cranking up the LBC and listening to Nick Ferrari argue with Barry from Milton Keynes, even if we don’t know what they’re actually arguing about.
Although this has arguably always been a staple of British culture, the act of arguing for the sake of arguing is far more prominent today due to the expansion of internet comment sections. Will J. Lovell, guitarist and vocalist, in an interview with Clara Bullock for Wax music says: ‘I’ve had this kind of morbid fascination with Facebook and Youtube comments. Some of the stuff people write on the internet is wild. People have these intense arguments with each other.’ The idea of isolation and divide is what also inspired the lyrics for ‘Good Morning Britain’, as during the same interview, vocalist and bass player Jack comments: ‘Sometimes it seems like people understand each other less and less online. Nowadays I see a lot of alienation on the internet which makes me feel quite anxious and depressed, to be frank.’
The band, consisting of Jack George Smith (Bass/Vocals), William J. Lovell (Guitar/Vocals), Jake Thomas (production/additional instrumentation) and Josh T. Matheson (drums/Telecoms), formed in 2017 at the height of the ‘post-Brexit-post-punk’ movement, and have been performing together since. If you are ever out in London one night and find yourself in the desperate need to drink an overpriced beer and release all political angst, I highly recommend you see these guys at one of their gigs. Their new single ‘Saltaire’ is streaming on all platforms.
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