The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars

Male-female folk-country-pop duo The Civil Wars has gone dark. No, they have remembered to pay their electric bill but they have in two other ways. First, Joy Williams and John Paul White have decided to go on hiatus due to some sort of squabble and second, the lyrics on the album are quite dark. The first part is too bad because these are two very talented people who complement each other very well. Though it seems like the internal drama leaked into the music and it is all the better for it. The vocals are dripping with emotion and the music is up to the task with plenty of haunting or lush arrangements. It is incredible how well these two performers (she’s a little bit country while he’s a little rock ‘n roll) mesh and the how ethereal the harmonies they create are. Due to their voices the beautiful, harsh and intimate lyrics are made all that much more poignant. The songs tell tales of love lost, heartbreak, regret, fatigue, remorse and accusations. It is all slightly uncomfortable to listen to as you know what is going on behind the scenes. Nevertheless it is great. The weakest parts of the album are the two covers. Ella Fitzgerald’s “Tell Mama” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm” are two songs you might not expect from The Civil Wars but they don’t add anything either. Hopefully they will start speaking to one another again and put out more music because together they are better than they are separately.

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