Civil Twilight just might be one of the most underrated bands out there today. The foursome is talented and continues to make compelling indie rock that you can listen to all the way through. After hearing their first single which is also the title of the album, the difference in sound is apparent. Their reasoning behind the album name makes sense as 3 of the four members are originally from South Africa. This is an album including influences from growing up there and with a difference in sound.

Story of an Immigrant is technically their fourth full length album if you count their self produced album Human in 2007. They received some notoriety in 2010 with their self titled release that included “Letters from the Sky” which is a beautiful song. 2012’s Holy Weather was a beautifully crafted album that needs more recognition.  Civil Twilight is comprised of Steven (lead vocals, bass and piano) and Andrew McKeller (guitar), Richard Wouters (drums) and Kevin Dailey (keys and guitar).

In terms of awesome vocalists, Steven is one of the best in the business today. He almost restrains himself a bit with this album, but luckily there is a nice display of his beautiful alto a bit in “Story of an Immigrant” and the hopeful closer “Love Was All That Mattered“. The album starts with “Oh Daniel” which is heavy on drum beats and guitar and with a hopeful message as well. “Holy Dove” comes in with some synth and nice beats to this track which might be the least optimistic track on the album. “When When” is probably the most tropical sounding on the album, most definitely pulling from their African influences.  “Story of an Immigrant” is a great song about making that move to an entirely new place and being hopeful about the outcome. Civil Twilight’s harmonies come together well in this track. “Let it Go” is a positive track about not letting fear get to you. It’s a bit slower paced in the beginning but also includes nice drum beats and a bit of synth with nice harmonies towards the end.

River Child” was my most questionable track on the album because I’m not a huge fan of the vocoder but then after listening a few times I realized they sampled label mates Strange Talk toward the end (If not, it sounds just like the beginning of Cast Away) and it grew on me. The track is more synth driven and the vocoder is minimal so I can live with it. The song definitely speaks to growing up near a river back home and the freedom that comes with that.

All My Clothes” doesn’t leave much to the imagination with the song title and is definitely a love song. The pace slows down a bit and has my favorite lyric “the trembling hand conducting the symphony”. “The Other Side” is a great track about love and change. It has nice guitar riffs and drum beats throughout. “Didn’t Know When To Stop” almost has a stripped down garage like feel to it and Steven’s vocals seem a bit muted. It turns a bit psychedelic sounding toward the end. It’s a great track speaking of not being able to stop some destructive habits.  “Only For A Time” slows down a bit and speaks of things that are temporary including relationships. This track provided my alto-Steven fix at about the 3 minute mark and sounds the most like past Civil Twilight to me.  “Love Was All That Mattered” closes out the album nicely as this is another perfect example of how beautifully Steven can sing with just minimal music in the background, like a piano or simple guitar chords. It’s a beautiful love song and rivals 2012’s “It’s Over” with it’s atmospheric qualities.

All in all, Story Of An Immigrant is another solid album by a very talented band. It provides Civil Twilight fans another fix until the next release, and hopefully draws in new fans with their wide range of talent in songwriting, those “Steven” vocals and overall quality yet harmonious rock.

We also caught Civil Twilight at SXSW earlier this year, and they are definitely worth checking out live (upcoming dates below).

Story of An Immigrant is out tomorrow on Wind Up Records and is available via i-Tunes. You can stream it right now over at Spin magazine.


Facebook: Civil Twilight

Twitter: @civiltwilight


*with Matthew E. White and Small Time Napoleon
†with Nate Ruess and MS. MR.
‡with The Gaslight Anthem, Cake, Airborne Toxic Event and more
§with Cold War Kids
**with Lord Huron
††with Delta Rae
‡‡with Cake, Matt & Kim, Bear Hands and more
§§with The Greeting Committee

July 12 Philadelphia, PA  –  Radio 104.5 Block Party†
July 16  Nashville, TN  – 3rd & Lindsley
July 21  Vienna, VA  – Jammin Java
July 22  New York, NY   – Bowery Ballroom
July 23  Columbus, OH  –  LC Pavilion‡‡
July 24   Clifton Park, NY  – Upstate Concert Hall‡
July 25   Buffalo, NY  –  Canalside Buffalo with WLKK§
July 27   Toronto, ON      –      Rivoli††
July 28   Cleveland, OH    –    Grog Shop
July 29   Indianapolis, IN   –   Radio Radio
July 31 Minneapolis, MN  –  Turf Club
August 1  Milwaukee, WI   –    Shank Hall
August 3  Omaha, NE    –    Slowdown**
August 6  Colorado Springs, CO –  Black Sheep
August 7  Denver, CO    –  Larimer Lounge
August 9  Kansas City, MO  – The Record Bar§§

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