Tucked between “Rocking Chair” and “Feather,” songs driven by a relaxed but confident drum beat and plaintive slide guitar, is the track “Too Soon.” It’s the fifth song on Civic’s new seven-song EP, Things With Feathers.
Lead vocalist, guitarist and occasional cellist Dana Osterling describes the album as a reflection of her “mellow and thoughtful” personality. Many of the songs have slow beats one could keep in with a rocking chair, and Osterling’s Norah Jones-esque vocals possess a peaceful purity that conjures an image of honey dripping off a butter knife.
But “Too Soon” has an aggressive edge that stands out from the rest of the album as the band exuberantly rocks to the beat in their new music video. At first listen, it’s a classic rock song: power chords plucked on lead guitar, heavy cymbals on two and four, and a chorus punctuated by an off-beat leap in the melody as Osterling sings “you can… take it on” in a Somerville garage. It exudes a fire that even the mellowest of us possess. “We all have to get angry sometimes,” says Osterling.
The song is not purely one of angst and anger; while its protagonist feels mistreated (“no one else can mock me like you do”), the beating fails to bring her down. The major-key song lightly bounces on the tips of its toes and the resilient narrator has no problem letting go, dismissively singing “you can take it on yourself, if you’re to dumb to need anybody’s help.” The song focuses more on the person doing the harming than the one harmed — the only action the narrator takes in the song is “to take back every word I ever spoke.”
Osterling throws her long blonde hair out of her eyes while tilting her chin roof-ward to belt out the chorus. She youthfully bounces from heel to toe, the garage pleasantly lit by a modest string of white light bulbs. As the buzz of the final chords fade away, Osterling peeks over her shoulder at a camera. Her face remains still and her eyes look to something beyond the lens. Then she cranes her neck forward and slowly forces out a smile.