Civilian

March 8, 2011 | Format: MP3

$5.99
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3:50
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3:42
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4:35
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3:24
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3:40
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4:49
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3:45
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3:50
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4:38
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2:27

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: March 8, 2011
  • Label: Merge Records
  • Copyright: 2011 Merge Records
  • Total Length: 38:40
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B004LW8Y60
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,779 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 45 customer reviews
Once in a while I'm blown away by an album.
Robert W. Bean
The beautiful melodies are contrasted with noisy distortion in just the right amount.
TimothyArcher
This album is a rarity, in that it will delight loyal fans and newcomers alike.
Rachel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on May 13, 2011
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
With Civilian, Wye Oak has mastered the art of creating songs that swell and progress to peaks of ultimate complexity. Many of the tracks begin with the spotlight placed squarely on Jenn's smooth, subtle, yet powerfully sultry vocals, only to have the mood tempered by distorted guitar riffs and resonating percussion. Although the general feel of the music is one of melancholy, the mesmerizing lyrics and diaphonous undertones keep the album from becoming too dark and burdensome. Heavy topics are approached with a sort of cautious intensity that carefully toes the line between drawing listeners in and pushing them over the edge.

The group has been tossed into the indie/lo-fi category--one that is overflowing with aesthetically similar musicians who ultimately have little in common, aside from their affinity for creating probing and consequential music. In a genre where anything goes, Wye Oak has responded by developing an entirely novel offering--from the introductory track's opening note to the album's final fade, there is nothing contrived or derivative to be found. Comparisons can be drawn to several of the band's contemporaries, from Rogue Wave to Pavement, but fans expecting a rehashed version of such artists' respective albums are in for an unanticipated treat.

Because Civilian is much more polished and produced than it's predecessors, it is more accessible. That being said, the band has stayed their direction, and their material has maintained the nuances and intricacies that brought them to the attention of so many discerning listeners. This album is a rarity, in that it will delight loyal fans and newcomers alike. The lyrical genius, gorgeous vocals, and singular instrumental arrangements make Civilian more than an experience of passive listening, but, as alluded to on the album's cover art, one more akin to musical immersion.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By loce_the_wizard VINE VOICE on December 15, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I get why folks like Wye Oak but what I cannot figure is why everyone seems to love "Civilians." It is a good, but not great, recording. Jenn Wasner, who sounds quite a bit like Sonya Kitchell (which is meant as a compliment), shines on some songs but seems lost in the mix on others. Andy Stack, when restrained just a bit, handles the multi-instrumentalist role with aplomb, but I think things can quickly become too strident, throwing some songs, (e.g., Dogs Eyes, Wealth) off balance. Put another way, fewer ideas and directions would be better in many places. Once the melody meanders too far, it just is not that pleasant. And the track Plains meanders in a different way, sort of an aimless ramble that never gets anywhere.

That said, when Wye Oak nails a song, such as the title track, this duo shows its true strength and potential. This is one of those recordings I like well enough and I think it is worth a listen, though it ultimately does not completely satisfy as a recording that qualifies for a ringing endorsement.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Heavy Theta on March 8, 2011
Format: Audio CD
(Do bands still have breakthroughs in today's incompetent music industry?) With their third album the Baltimore duo have found a sound that is not derivative, but genuinely haunting. While it is easy enough to categorize just about any group (shoegazing in this case?), it would not only callously overlook what is truly an original voice, something fairly rare these jaded later days of contemporary/alternative, but more importantly fail to appreciate the genuinely affecting experience of wrapping oneself into the sublime emotion offered here. Holy Holy, Doubt and the title track are each strong enough to gain airplay, so I hope that somehow this disc creates enough buzz to lend support to young artists who have discovered a connection to what deserves to be a decent run.
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia Chi on April 25, 2011
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
In case you were wondering: this album does come with a download code for the full album. I think it's the case that most (but not all?) new records these days come with codes to download the album digitally. Civilian comes with a code that lets you download the album up to 3 times from the Merge Records website. It's very easy to download, and comes in 320 kbps mp3s with no DRM.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mad Man on June 24, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
To my ears, it took Wye Oak three albums to hit their full stride. The first two albums had incredible moments, but would get a little drifty in stretches. This release is involving throughout and consistently surprises the listener with interesting and unusual sounds brought into the mix. Their sound has continue to evolve and develop from album to album to achieve greater depth in their music. When I think of some of my favorite bands who have released new albums this year, none have truly impressed me and some have downright disappointed. Arcade Fire's The Suburbs was alright, but I'm not inclined to play it as I have with their previous work. The Arctic Monkeys and The Kills released truly trite, wholly forgettable recordings. And The Strokes new album was listenable, even enjoyable, but ultimately a disappointing effort after so many years outside the studio. By contrast, Civilian will remain in my rotation for sometime to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By michael soule on September 3, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
i stumbled across this album by accident. a very happy accident it has turned out to be.
"civilian" is a collection of songs bound together by their simple and lovely songwriting and the thoughtful, purposeful feel of each tune. the progression of music through the album feels natural as wye oak move from contemplative beginnings through more strongly rocking tunes that retain the sense of meditation introduced at the outset of the album. "holy holy" especially has this kind of rare mix of feeling meditative and being something that you need to have washing over you at full blast.
few albums that i have listened to lately have the balance between consistency and variation in sound that wye oak achieve with "civilian." there are no songs out of place. each is a whole, complete entity set just right alongside its companions in this beautiful collection.
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