Rules is the debut album of CIVIL CIVIC, an instrumental electronic duo that has created some seriously catchy and atmospheric tunes for their first LP. They do this with only a synthesizer, bass guitar, drum machine, and the occasional guitar lick; some people may not like the lack of vocals here, but I think it allows the songs to grow and become more intricate without having to worry about adhering to the verse-chorus-verse structure in order to make room for the vocals. Speaking of song structures, I love the directions that the songs on this album take. Most songs will start off with a catchy bass groove and continue to add on layers and layers of sound, making many of the songs an incredibly deep and satisfying listen. Instead of repeating the same beat or melody over and over, the songs on Rules constantly build and change as they go on, keeping the sounds fresh and keeping the album from dragging on. The main complaint I have with this album is that some of the tracks here stray away from hard-hitting beats and grooves, instead creating a more laid back and subdued atmosphere. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think the duo is at their best when they’re more in-your-face. Some of the tracks have a weird, spooky sound to them, and “Grey Nurse” in particular sounds like it belongs on a haunted house themed course in a Nintendo 64 kart racer (which is the raddest thing EVER). CIVIL CIVIC may not be the most well-known band around, but I really hope Rules will put them on the map. I’m seriously digging this album and would love to hear more from these guys in the future.