Verdict: 2.5 / 5
Indie, country and folk group The Civil Wars have released their second eponymous album to much acclaim, despite the fact that the duo consisting of Joy Williams and John Paul White seem to not be on speaking terms.
What is the ‘Civil Wars’ if not an album that embraces sentimentality and overly sad lyrics. The performers have good singing voices especially female singer Joy. Yet despite this many of the melodies on the songs are sterile and weak. Except for a couple of songs the sparseness or lack of a full backing band is problematic. Rather than show off the supposed quality of the songwriting the lack of accompaniment highlights the inherit blandness of the lyrics and melodies.
Opening song ‘The One That Got Away’ has more meat on it; distorted guitars help a nominal folksy blues song sound more exciting. The same goes for ‘I Had Me a Girl’. The duo show their eclectic listening tastes by covering The Smashing Pumpkins’ classic ‘Disarm’ but they fuddle the song, erasing all the emotion in it by opting for a more maudlin melody that is stretch to far from the original. Older country and folk lovers will dismiss this vain attempt to simulate Americana music but younger ears see, be more susceptible to this album which is more simulacrum than original.