Civil Rats, authors of my seventh-highest rated EP of 2023, have topped themselves in a big way on Don't Get It., their sophomore EP. I don't often describe a collection of songs as "perfect," but that's the word that's coming to my mind as a I reflect on Don't Get It. This Philadelphia-based trio takes a very simple approach to music, playing energetic garage punk that's catchy and fun. Yet it's the execution of that approach — which I would indeed describe as perfect — that really sets this band apart. Remember the way you felt when you first discovered punk rock and were like, "Wow, this is the most awesome music ever!"? That's the sort of energy I get from Civil Rats. This band doesn't take itself too seriously, but it seriously rocks. And although the band's sense of humor really shines through on these six tracks, the songs' lyrics tackle relatable, real-life topics. Who among us can't relate to a song about watching a movie or reading a book and having it totally go over your head? "H-E Double Hockey Sticks," which describes the urgent need to extricate yourself from an extremely toxic situation, is immensely profound (without going over my head — ha!). Elsewhere, the band sings of the joys of basement shows, ruminates on how responsible adulthood can foil a person's hard-partying ways, and asks perhaps the most universal of all human questions: How much did we drink last night? If aliens came to my house and threatened to disembowel me if I didn't explain to them why I love punk rock, I would play them this EP. They would dance & sing along, and no Earthlings would be harmed. Don't Get It. will be available soon on cassette tape, so be sure to follow Civil Rats on the socials or pre-order a copy on Bandcamp if you'd like to get in on the action!