The level of intricate and melodious songwriting demonstrated throughout the album is instantly striking - inviting anyone to connect with it regardless of its genre. Opening tracks '20 Years' and 'I've Got This Friend' immediately pique the listener's interest with crisp and delicate acoustic riffs serving as a backdrop to the pair's carefully interlaced vocal performance.
The album thrives on the omission of heavy beats, instead relying on slowly building chord progressions to allow their ballads to bloom. This is beautifully demonstrated in 'Poison & Wine' where they capture the conflicting inner emotions of a relationship. Their repeated admissions of "I don't love you but I always will" make for a hypnotic, neo-gothic ode that feels both contemporary and timeless.
Even upbeat title track 'Barton Hollow' - charged with a Deep South strum line - manages to encompass alternative rock-influences that makes it accessible to any countryphobe. It is their ability to write sophisticated and personal music that could also soundtrack the likes of a Twilight movie that is The Civil Wars' main appeal; and the combination makes for a truly stunning debut.
Tracks to download: '20 Years', 'I've Got This Friend', 'Poison & Wine', 'Barton Hollow'
If you like this, you'll like: Mumford & Sons, Joni Mitchell, Damien Rice
Watch the music video for 'Poison & Wine' by The Civil Wars below: