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Album Review: 'The Civil Wars'

Don’t let the duo’s new album be the one that got away.

By Morgan McPartland | Aug. 7, 2013

Tags: Music Reviews


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Perhaps most publicly recognized for their collaboration with Taylor Swift on "The Hunger Games" soundtrack in 2012, the American folk duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White has come a long way in the music industry since they first got started. Though their self-released album, Barton Hollow, was a huge hit in 2011, their self-titled second record, The Civil Wars, is even more dramatic.

While Barton Hollow was mostly acoustic and soothing, The Civil Wars is full of powerful tracks like “I Had Me a Girl,” and heartfelt yet aggressive lyrics in “Dust to Dust” and “Eavesdrop.”

As if the addition of electric guitar on a few of the tracks wasn’t intense enough for the pair, Williams decided to record the second-to-last track, “Sacred Heart,” entirely in French. As the duo’s first song recorded in another language, it gives the album a dark, eerie ending — but in the best way possible.

Although it’s a huge change from what fans are used to, Williams and White succeeded in putting their differences aside and delivering their highly anticipated second album. (After splitting mid-tour due to “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” in 2012, the future of The Civil Wars was unclear.)

As of now, the band is on hiatus and Williams and White aren’t even on speaking terms – and that tension is almost brilliantly tangible in each track on The Civil Wars.

MOVE gives The Civil Wars 4 stars out of 5.

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