After a hiatus due to "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition," The Civil Wars is back.
The alternative folk duo released their new self-titled album on August 8, having recorded the album before the break.
The Grammy-award winning duo is composed of singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White. who released their debut album "Barton Hallow" back in 2011.
"The Civil Wars" is a collection of twelve haunting tracks, spooky in the best way possible. The songs deal with love and heartbreak in an honest setting. As a whole, "The Civil Wars" is an album that isn't necessarily a collection of songs, but rather a streamlined, musically arranged set of diary entries.
The relationship between White and Williams remains a mystery. Fans will listen along to their harsh yet beautiful lyrics, hoping to unearth the story behind why this extraordinary act could not remain together.
It's obvious that the Nashville natives put a lot of emotion into every song on the album. "The Civil Wars" maintains a similar style as "Barton Hollow," its debut release from 2011, with a bit more of an alternative edge.
Whatever feelings that caused the groups hiatus is noticeable in this collection of songs, if not completely blatant.
Listeners may occasionally find themselves pondering if Williams and White are singing with each other, or at each other.
Each song is stunning in its own right, but one song that stands out is "I Had Me a Girl." Williams sings, "I had me a boy/ Who buttoned me down/ Drew me a line/ He, he washed me as clean/ As a sinner could be/ Showed me the light/ Oh that boy, he taught me to pray/ But for all of his spit-shinin' ways."
The song is more alternative than folk with it's not-too-fast-or-slow pace, so listeners can nod their heads along to the beat.
Following the theme of love and lost love is the song "Eavesdrop." The best part of the song occurs in the chorus when Williams sings, "Oh don't say that it's over/ Oh no say it ain't so/ Let's let the stars watch/ Let them stare/ Let the wind eavesdrop/ I don't care/ For all that we've got, don't let go/ Just hold me," to which White replies, "I can't pull you closer than this/ It's just you and the moon on my skin."
The chorus culminates, sweeping to a wrenching conclusion: "Oh who says it ever has to end/ Oh don't say that it's over/ Oh no say it ain't so."
The repressed emotions and strong feelings on this track are evident by the passion and force infused in both artists' vocals. This is another point where listeners may feel the "internal discord" that split the group in the first place.
The album's first single and first track is titled "The One Who Got Away," and fits into the collection of songs as a morose ballad. The beginning of the song starts slow but ends with a bit of fire, making it one of the more conspicuous songs on the album. The song is about regret through hindsight of a relationship.
"Oh, I wish I'd never ever seen your face/ I wish you were the one/ Wish you were the one that got away/ I miss the way you wanted me/ When I was staying just out of your reach/ Begging for the slightest touch/ Ooh, you couldn't get enough." This only builds up the mystery behind the split even more.
Fans of The Civil Wars' first album are sure to enjoy "The Civil Wars." It's lyrics and melodies are impressive to say the least, but the album highlights themes that any one can relate to, making it that much more relevant to a wide audience.
"The Civil Wars" by The Civil Wars is available to purchase on iTunes and available to listen to on Spotify.