I've had some time to sit with this album and it affects me deeply...
The production quality feels disconnected with some of the songs. I don't know much about music production but it almost feels that the vocals on some of the songs were recorded separately then mixed together later. Some of the harmonies feel disconnected in comparison with the first album. The lack of John Paul's voice has forced me to do something I told myself I would never do (never say never), order John Paul's solo album. I find myself needing more, craving more of JP's voice in the self titled album The Civil Wars.
That being said this album is painfully beautiful Ironically the two cover songs (Etta James and Smashing Pumpkins) I barely recognized upon 1st listening to the album are among my favorites. The harsh, passionate strum of the cords and the soft whisper of lyrics in the album invite the listener to speculate the nature of the bands (temporary, I hope) separation. Without a formal explanation of why The Civil War's dissolved, this collection of songs forces the listener to think there was a complication of intimate feelings shared between Joy Williams and John Paul White. Regardless of the reason I hope they can remedy whatever intoxication's that have left this musical partnership disassociated and move forward making soul altering music.
Note: I do not get paid to write these words. I am passionate about the artistry and design of this music and therefore I share what I feel.
"Design is conceived when an inherent need to be creative manifests itself into physical or visual form."