Barely Civil
We Can Live Here Forever


4.5
superb

Review

by MarsKid USER (25 Reviews)
March 4th, 2018 | 79 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This review takes place somewhere in the Midwest

Not many musical genres can get under your skin the way emo can. Every category may potentially strike a listener straight at their core, but the methods they employ aren’t quite the same. Maybe it seems silly to have to define this—after all, the term is simply short for ‘emotional,’ which seems self-explanatory enough—but I’m not content leaving it there, as it doesn’t begin to truly describe how a given emo record feels. Something like Home, Like NoPlace is There is an almost exhausting listening experience. From one track to the next, you’re dealt an incredible punch to the gut with a vulnerable vocal performance, devastating lyrics, and delicately melodic guitars. Each note awakens a sensitive piece of life that had been forcibly tucked away; by the end of the album, the misery of the band has transformed into your own, rendering both realities indistinguishable for the other. No matter your current disposition, emo religiously tears into the very soul, dredging up all the insecurities, regrets, and traumas it can lay its hands on. This massive purging, a catharsis of repressed memories, is absolutely draining. It feels as though the mind has finished an excruciatingly long marathon. For reasons like this, I find visiting an emo record difficult on occasion, if only because it takes so much out of you. Even if the ultimate expedition bears immense power and sounds damn amazing, the cost paid by the audience could border on total. In the end, the duality of the positive and negative attributes of the genre equal a somewhat paradoxical reaction.

When browsing through new releases, therefore, the emo classification might as well be a landmine. The category suffers from the same issue of overloading as any other in existence, burying the heavy-hitting albums under the figurative compost. Combined with the general tedium of sorting through average upon average product, a seemingly ordinary disc may suddenly explode beneath your feet. It makes my established contradictions even more palpable—whether emo music is even pleasant to begin with, or if the pain outweighs the pleasure. I’d instead wager that what I’m trying to do here is ramble to cover up for the fact that Barely Civil caught me with my guard down while I was sorting through new records, sipping on coffee and relaxing in an armchair as time slipped by. Enjoyably ordinary had been the name of the game for the last handful of weeks, keeping any depressing thought under wraps. Nearly forty minutes later, I’m stuck in the same seat, cursing at an unknown Wisconsin four-piece for making me worry about something outside of the temperature of my drink.

We Can Live Here Forever is all about being disconnected—disconnected from relationships, disconnected from a dot on a map that’s supposed to be home, disconnected from anyone around you. It can get lonely, it can get frustrating, and it could even bring out anger. This is all made clear through the opening shouts of “I’ve Been Getting Headaches Lately,” vocalist-guitarist Connor Erickson’s soft voice contemplating things lost while his bandmates chant “You won’t take mine!” in the background. From there, the melodic, pop-rock-tinged lead riff of “Lost//Found” kicks in, every note seemingly drifting along as a dream. The lyrics flow smoothly, seamlessly out of the speakers, lulling me into a sort of trance, and it takes a moment after the sound ends until I realize I’m still wondering if I’ll manage to truly be found somewhere. Barely a few moments pass and the gentle strumming of “Eau Claire"” proceeds to once again float above as if given an ethereal quality by the subtlety generated by the group. While I could’ve sworn Erickson and friends were looking upon a Wisconsin metropole when they composed the track, I instead saw myself, two years younger, laying my eyes upon a hole-in-the-wall town in Appalachian Ohio and wondering if this was really where I belonged.

The Knapsack-approved “RE: Your Lungs” continually launches into a repetitive, anthem-worhty refrain, the verses detailing how the last significant relationship I had was characterized by arrivals and departures, leaving me muttering to myself in the darkness of my dorm room that it’s alright. Led slowly by restrained drumming, “Handwritten House” converses about the suicidal friend I had in my life, who constantly worried me, reminding me about the long nights we’d spend looking into the night sky and contemplating why we still remained under it. Any notion of longing is suddenly replaced by upbeat, aggressive-sounding riffing, running straight from the self-critical “You With A Cape…”—featuring my past self staring into a mirror, berating everything it displays—and the similarly faster-tempo “Stark,” where the chords and lyrics drip with nostalgia, causing more reminiscing about carefree days in an old neighborhood where the principle worry revolved around how much longer we could ride bikes before the sun set. Companion tune “Kent” replays an image where I’m saying goodbye to someone I’ve known for almost a tenth of my life and certainly gave the whole, knowing fully well that whatever we had was coming to an agonizing closure.

Only when “Super 8//Marathon” barges in with gusto—even Cap’n Jazz might nod in approval--does the awareness settle in that I’ve been writing about my own life, my own pain, and that Barely Civil have opened me up in a surgical manner. I blink and I notice that the Word document before me is now painted in the colors of all my lurking insecurities. Intentional or not, I figure out in a shock that We Can Live… exploded beneath my feet; the safety net that was ‘enjoyably ordinary’ has been dismantled. Gathering a collection of influences across the emo classics, We Can Live… arranges a performance that identifies as their own, but in a comfortably familiar fashion. General stereotypes are side-stepped gracefully, with songwriting varied exceptionally well through the rock-out tracks (“You With A Cape…”) and the more nuanced, pensive additions (“Kent”). Passion, honesty, energy—the virtues of music creation elevated above other criterion—resonate through each members’ contributions. The result is a record that is crafted and executed with genuine care. I tried to attach meaning to the occurrence, explain it away, not entirely willing to accept that such a random listening endeavor could reach me so strongly.

That objective, critically-inclined part of my brain wants to dispel every single word crafted here and replace it all with scathing commentary. An argument brews in the back of my head, attempting to point out how We Can Live… isn’t necessarily original compared to previous acts, instead borrowing from established norms. The imaginary review contends that the singing is not honest and exposed, but rather weak, not befitting for the instrumental content. Perhaps the album isn’t special in the slightest; my concentration must have lapsed, or some other factor intervened that caused me to consider this output something important to talk about. Beyond all else, there is a fury building in intensity—fury directed at a release that maybe I shouldn’t like, but still did. In all truthfulness, I would prefer to provide that seemingly conscious, albeit superficial review with the right voice, the perfect execution, and rip into every facet of Barely Civil. But I’m still laying my eyes upon a hole-in-the-wall town in Appalachian Ohio and wondering if this was really where I belonged, eventually coming to the conclusion that “I Am Drowning.” I still could’ve sworn I was supposed to be in Wisconsin.



Recent reviews by this author
Woods of Ypres Woods V: Grey Skies and Electric LightI/O (US) Anyone, Anywhere
Invalids Fulfillment EPAugury Illusive Golden Age
Will Haven MuerteRoots and Ruins Die Right
user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
March 4th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Another one down for 2018. Inspiration just kinda hit.



I'm aware this one might be rough compared to others. I'm even aware that I could (read: I definitely am) overselling this one. But I can't deny that it got me. Woopsie-daisy.



Stream it: https://barelycivil.bandcamp.com/album/we-can-live-here-forever



Comments, criticism, hellos and hi-s, your latest Craigslist order information all welcome

MarsKid
March 4th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fixed the streamin' link

McTime50
March 4th 2018


399 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I bid you a swell evening, Mr. Mars.

Digging: Foxing - Nearer My God

McTime50
March 4th 2018


399 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The cover and genre tags drew me in and your review sold it, checking it now.

MarsKid
March 4th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks so much for giving some time to read my man. I definitely can see people not liking this that much. But it clicked with me a certain way, so here we are. Hope you end up enjoying it tho

Nbehre11
March 4th 2018


100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oooh! This appeals to my midwestern heart. Nice write up, gonna check it soon!

Digging: mewithoutYou - Brother, Sister

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2018


8366 Comments


great sprawler of a review, dude!! have a pos..

Digging: A.C. Temple - Blowtorch

MarsKid
March 4th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't know where this feature came from, but it makes me feel so happy. Thanks all for the support, it does mean a lot to me.

Snake.
March 4th 2018


20781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hmmmm



interesting

MarsKid
March 4th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have a feeling my very subjective experience will differ greatly from everyone else's feelings over this album haha. Thanks for stopping by.

Nbehre11
March 4th 2018


100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely liking what I’m hearing so far, thanks for bringing my attention to this.

MarsKid
March 4th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad I could spread the word then!

SteakByrnes
March 5th 2018


12648 Comments


Goddamn, this might be my favorite review of yours. This was such a good read from start to finish, and it felt formal yet with informal undertones. Gonna have to put this on my list, fantastic review Marsbro m/

Digging: ERRA - Neon

Dewinged
March 5th 2018


10826 Comments


Great write up Mars, you really are inspired lately. I always found hard to feel any empathy for the genre but I'll give this one a try.

Digging: Tomberlin - At Weddings

MarsKid
March 5th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Steak glad that you really liked this one. Was a bit hard to write given the context so I'm content that it didn't turn out at rough as it might've. I find it harder to proofread reviews I make that add a tinge of my true self to them, whether due to embarrassment or something. Not quite sure. Thanks for stopping by.



@Dewinged yeah, it's been a lucky streak for me. I've been so disconnected (ding ding buzz word) in my studies--haven't had anything remotely engaging to do--that now that I've rediscovered a creative outlet, I'm just latched onto it with all my might. Thanks for givin a read.

Dedes
March 5th 2018


5810 Comments


Yeah, this honestly is a great review. We need more that break convention. Too many reviews are cut from the same paper.

MarsKid
March 5th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for coming by dedester.



I generally try to frame my reviews around a thesis and a theme that I develop given my reaction to the given album. Sometimes it's more formal, sometimes I want a more informal direction. So I do try to instill some variance, hopefully it works haha

Dedes
March 5th 2018


5810 Comments


It certainly worked well here! I need to start hammering out reviews more, so much I've been listening to that needs a bigger following.

MarsKid
March 5th 2018


7086 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

For sure, year has been amazing thus far. Hard to narrow down what to write about.

Toad
March 5th 2018


1969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is pretty great. thanks for the write-up!





You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy