Lee’s Listening Stack: The Civil Wars — ‘Barton Hollow’
There’s nothing uncivil about the Civil Wars; far from it, in fact. As measured by the sparse and spectral sound they create on this, their debut LP, this wide-eyed duo’s elegiac style qualifies it as one of the most sensual-sounding efforts in recent memory, one that engages its listeners from its opening embrace to its final twilight fade. Indeed, the realms surveyed by Barton Hollow encompass some lovely environs, all sepia tones and gothic ambiance fleshed out by Joy Williams and John Paul White’s wistful harmonies and quiet acoustic strum. “I’ve Got This Friend,” “20 Years,” “My Father’s Friend” and “Birds of a Feather” each evolve as graceful serenades, imbued with a folk finesse and a beguiling sensibility. The duo veers from the overall palette at times, but only subtly, whether through the soaring “Poison & Wine,” the lazy country sprawl of “Forget Me Not” or the darker designs and steadfast stomp instilled in the title track.
Still, despite these momentary diversions, Barton Hollow remains practically unobtrusive to a fault, all pastoral reflection that echoes the idyllic imagery suggested by the title. That then makes this mix of melody and melancholia nothing less than a sublime delight. – Lee Zimmerman
Lee Zimmerman is a contributor to a variety of publications, including Blurt, M Music & Musicians, New Times, Goldmine and Amplifier
This review appears courtesy of Amplifier, 50,000 Watts of Non-Stop Indie Rock http://amplifiermagazine.blogspot.com/