Civil Twilight
Story Of An Immigrant


4.5
superb

Review

by Sowing STAFF
July 8th, 2021 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is not a gushing personal review, and this is not a classic album. But it's almost both!

Civil Twilight is one of many 2010s rock bands that people fell head over heels for (thanks in large part to their hit 'Letters From The Sky') before promptly forgetting about them roughly twelve seconds later. I exaggerate, but their sophomore slump Holy Weather didn't aid the band's cause, which is ultimately a shame because by the time Story of an Immigrant was released three years later there wasn't nearly as much of an audience for them remaining. Luckily for me - someone who's always fashionably late to parties - it was actually my introduction to the band. As the crashing guitars of 'Oh Daniel' washed over me, it felt like a kind of musical rebirth. I'd just switched careers, signed for a new apartment, and set a wedding date with my fiancee, so the splendorous waves of guitars/drums that erupted throughout 'Oh Daniel' were like a tidal wave washing away my old life, leaving me on a bare and sandy beach to start anew. It was both invigorating and terrifying.

Before I go too much further: no, this is not one of those "memories" reviews where I weave in a series of personal anecdotes to justify hyperbolic praise for an otherwise okay album. Honestly, I didn't even think much of this thing when it first dropped. I loved 'Oh Daniel' from the moment I laid ears on it (in case I haven't already made that obvious!), and I thought 'Holy Dove' was a proper banger (seriously, why all the hate for such an infectious/groove-laden electronic rock song?), but the rest of the album fizzled out on first, second, third, and Nth impressions. I eventually gave up on it, but 'Holy Dove' and 'Oh Daniel' kept me coming back. Each year, I'd find myself falling in love with a new song that I'd previously disregarded without so much as a second thought. The gorgeous trickle of acoustic guitars on 'Love Was All That Mattered' randomly hit me like a ton of bricks one morning while driving to work in 2017. I think it took me until 2019 to hear the beauty in the title track, where I'd somehow previously overlooked those gushing, propulsive crescendos as well as verses like "All of my possessions, they're lying on the backseat / I tidy and I clean but it's never neat / Such is my life." Just this afternoon, a line late into 'All My Clothes' cut straight to my core: "How many scars will it take to remind us? / That love is blindness"..."I wanna be the winter breeze that carries you home / I wanna be the only heart you hold." ***, man. It took six years, but I'm finally at a point where I enjoy almost every song for an interesting instrumental quirk, lyrical gem, or some other distinctive wrinkle. I'd say this album has grown on me enough, but who knows - maybe in a few more years I'll finally see what the hell these guys were thinking when they wrote 'River Child'.

The reason I point out Story of an Immigrant's snail-paced takeover of my heart is because there's honestly not much music that sticks with me these days. I listen to far too much music for far too little time. It's a pattern of streaming and discarding that I can't seem to break, save for a few classics that never fade. That's where Story of an Immigrant baffles me - this in no way a classic. It's flawed, stylistically inconsistent, and not even really all that catchy most of the time. Still, year in and year out, I come crawling back to it. There's just a warmth here that embraces me like some long-lost friend. I don't know what to attribute that sensation to. It could be Steven McKellar's impassioned vocals and heartfelt lyrics, or maybe the subtle electronics bubbling beneath the record's pop/rock/acoustic framework. Whatever it is, I can't help but be taken by Story of an Immigrant: an album blessed with a sincere urgency that I've heard from very few other bands. May it continue to confuse and inspire me.



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user ratings (11)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
July 8th 2021


39137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album has been special to me for a long time in ways I can't articulate, so naturally I chose writing as a means of expressing that...



Listen to one of my all-time faves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-Jh7GJ4XjE

Digging: The Felice Brothers - From Dreams to Dust

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
July 8th 2021


41024 Comments


Is this bandname a daytime or a Weakerthans reference?

Digging: Trophy Scars - Astral Pariah

Lasssie
July 9th 2021


965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it is a Reference to the relationship between Edward and Jacob in Twilight and how they should be civil to one another!

Will check the album out this weekend. sounds like cool stuffz

Lucman
July 9th 2021


5337 Comments


Interesting. Will check once I stop obsessing over Spellling.

Digging: CHVRCHES - Screen Violence

Sowing
Moderator
July 9th 2021


39137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This probably isn't even a 4.5... think I gave it a 3 back in 2015 lol

I can't figure out why I now like it so much or why it took me the full course of 6 years to slowly see it come together

It always bothered me that it didn't have a review here though so I wanted to remedy that

Ecnalzen
July 9th 2021


10965 Comments


Curious how accurate the similar artists section is. Interested because of Boxer Rebellion and Reign of Kindo

Sowing
Moderator
July 9th 2021


39137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can see how someone could draw a line between these guys and The Boxer Rebellion although I wouldn't say they're extremely similar. Can't speak to their similarity to the other band you mentioned. I'd listen to the first two songs and if you don't like them then skip the rest, because even though this whole thing grew on me, I still think 'Oh Daniel' and 'Holy Dove' are the most impressive things here.

Ecnalzen
July 10th 2021


10965 Comments


Oh Daniel is pre cool. I think I will keep listening

I am a little surprised you haven't heard any Reign of Kindo. Just gorgeous piano fronted jazzy pop/rock with a fantastic vocalist and really smooth guitar lines

Sowing
Moderator
July 11th 2021


39137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool lmk what you think of the rest

never even heard of reign of kindo but that description sounds like it will be perfect for me

Ecnalzen
July 11th 2021


10965 Comments


This was coo. Will listen again soon

Heck yeah, Kindo is good stuff. I think their first album is basically perfect and then the two after are awesome as well. Still want to check their most recent. They just veer a little more in a poppier direction with each album it seems, which is a little disappointing with how much I love the first one, but they keep making good music so can't really be that mad at them

Sowing
Moderator
July 11th 2021


39137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll start with their debut then when I check them out :-)

Ecnalzen
July 11th 2021


10965 Comments


Hope you like!

I will have to comment again when I get some more familiarity with this, but I was def into it on that first listen

Lasssie
July 12th 2021


965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is very pleasant but not sure if it blew me away or anything but i have only listened through it like 2 times so time will tell if i will bump my rating or nah

Sowing
Moderator
July 12th 2021


39137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My initial feelings on this were even less generous. I basically just liked the first 2 songs and the rest was meh. I can't really explain why I continued returning to it or why it became one of my favorites lol

Lasssie
July 12th 2021


965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it is the first two songs that actually has made me even considering giving this more listens haha so spot on, Sowing!



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