The Civil Wars
Barton Hollow


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nevin USER (56 Reviews)
February 7th, 2011 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Civil Wars prove that they are worth the hype.

The Civil War's highly anticipated debut LP, Barton Hollow, arrives just in time to capitalize on the season that fits its moods most accurately - winter. The timid plucks of the acoustic guitar paired with the breathy, soulful voices of the vocal duo Joy Williams and John Paul White encapsulate the season with a stunning precision as they volley between a simplistic folk facet and an underlying soulful country presence. It's this tip-toeing between genres that allows The Civil Wars to experiment in their myriad of techniques in order to convey what they do best - and that is writing music.

Atop their wispy and flowing music in the opening tracks of the record, they croon their poetic romanticisms on superb tracks like "I've Got This Friend" and "To Whom It May Concern" which will either split your heart in two or leave you chagrined that you're listening to such cutesy tunes. The pair work wonderfully together as their contrasting vocals hit perfect harmony occasionally, with White's gruff deliveries mixing with Williams' soft-as-silk vocalization to a surprisingly effortless success. It's in these soft moments that they slowly build up to the climax of the record, "Barton Hollow", which hits with a sharp intensity as they stir in hints of rock with their decidedly simple folk backbone. The pair's singing of "Won't do me no good washing in the river/Can't no preacher man save my soul" is another example of how well they mix together with their contrasting accents and vocal tones, but still finding a way to make it sound completely natural.

After the explosion that was the title track, the album simmers down to a musical interlude as the haunting "The Violet Hour" moves with a soothing eeriness as a cello hums in the foreground. Even with the absence of Williams and White, they contain the chilled atmosphere in the most layered and musically adept song on the album. They show enormous strides throughout this record as it progresses, which hits a small stagnancy as the few tracks before the conclusion mull along, but still they end with a satisfying number. "Birds of a Feather" is the one song that can describe everything that The Civil Wars has to offer to the world of modern folk music. It sways and swells with the group's customary vocals and simplistic chord progression, but still manages to remain absorbing as their lyricism ends the record on a remarkable note. With Barton Hollow, The Civil Wars live up to every bit of hype that arose prior to its release and imprint some incredible tracks onto their resume as their career begins with a bang. Not only are they a group showered in praise, but also they're a group that deserves that praise. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the real payoff of Barton Hollow.



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user ratings (140)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer (4)
A uniquely beautiful album....

donovr (3.5)
With two unbelievable tunes, Barton Hollow offers a glimpse at what the Civil Wars could become....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wrote this about 2am last night, critiques would be superb. Very good and simple record for a relaxing listen

cvlts
February 7th 2011


8967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think I'd love this. Pos'd bro

Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, dude. Was surprised by how much I liked this actually, I'm not usually into this sort of style

cvlts
February 7th 2011


8967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Digging: Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

yeah, really not into this style haha

Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah well.. fucking digs

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2011


16430 Comments


I almost reviewed this simply because Taylor Swift said she gets off to 'Poison & Wine' every night (I might be paraphrasing just a little), but I found it to be pretty tepid.

I have to admit I only listened once though before I rated it so maybe it's like a 3 or something but I think a 4 is giving this too much credit. Good review and all, as usual. This seems feature worthy but then again I'm no mod.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't think too much of it at first either, but for what it is, I think it's a pretty great listen. I would consider giving it another spin just for growing sake. Much appreciated pos, sir

Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also, dat voice puts me in a trance. goddamn.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2011


7311 Comments


Great review as always, Slum. It's the best user piece I've read today. Also, I second Sowing - this is likely feature worthy.

Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Much appreciated, Irving! I can always count on you three to comment on my reviews haha

Eko
February 7th 2011


2119 Comments


heard these guys were good, might check this out if i have time.

Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I heard african priests dig it so you have that going for you

cvlts
February 7th 2011


8967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm actually really digging this... between a 3.5 and 4 while it sets in.

Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad i'm not the only one. Favorite song?

deepintheorchard
February 7th 2011


644 Comments


Wow the title track is great. You described this so accurately! Haha

cvlts
February 7th 2011


8967 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, title track is pretty awesome so far.

Eko
February 7th 2011


2119 Comments


@slum even better then

thebhoy
Emeritus
February 7th 2011


4461 Comments


I heard one of their songs of their EP and it was pretty average.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2011


7311 Comments


As you can see, Sowing and I have proven ourselves to be worthy of Mod status - despite our lowly Contributor and User tags (I am particularly lowly LOL).

Slum
February 7th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I owe you two for my insane amounts of popularity



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