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Not that Twilight

Band Civil Twilight evolves by exploring new musical paths

By TJ Gatchell
On April 18, 2012


It's getting to the point where I hear of a lot of different musical acts due to all the music blogs I check out. Obviously, though, I don't hear of everyone.

So when a friend asked me if I had ever heard of "Civil Twilight" a few years ago, I said no. He gave me a copy of their self-titled debut and I really enjoyed it.

It has a piano rock sound that fits on radio today and features some great songs like "Letters From the Sky" and "Human." Now, they've released their second album, "Holy Weather," and it seems like a natural evolution to their sound.

The band is obviously exploring new routes in a way to evolve their sound. It's apparent on the first single, "Fire Escape," which doesn't feature any of that piano that made "Letters From the Sky" a top-10 alternative hit.

Instead, it features some different guitar effects, from a deep, grimy sound, to a clean, The Edge-like tone. The light and airy sound during the chorus, paired with vocalist Steven McKeller's high range, makes this song the catchiest thing they've written so far.

On first listen, there didn't really seem to be any more obvious picks for singles, but that's not really a bad thing. "River" kind of reminds me of Travis' "Side;" a little bit of folk being injected into an alt-rock tune that makes for an interesting album opener.

The title track shows more of the band's experimental side, providing bouncy synths over very atmospheric electro-rock. The band listed dubstep artists like Burial and James Blake as influences on this album, and it's easy to see the influence on this track.

There's not much as bare-bone as "Human" on here, but there are some piano ballads that adhere to the band's style while also expanding it at the same time.

"Sweet Resistance" wouldn't seem out of place on albums by other bands like Snow Patrol, The Fray and the Script, but it's not as accessible or catchy as those bands' hits.

"Please Don't Find Me" actually reminds me of Sean Lennon's album "Friendly Fire" and Oasis for some reason, and probably wouldn't be too out of place on AAA radio stations like 93.9 The River. It's a definite showcase for McKeller's range as a vocalist.

A couple of songs might not have enough substance in them to warrant repeat listens. A few songs also don't vary much from the band's new formula.

These are the only downsides, though, to a mostly respectable sophomore release that shows a band that's finding new ground on an already trodden path.


Grade: B

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