Here is the second Poison & Wine EP from ‘folk’ duet The Civil Wars. When the first EP was released back in 2009, it was met by great acclaim, and saw the duo rise to fame quite quickly. When their debut album was released in 2011, they won many awards and were nominated for various others; yet again proving how they could easily grab the attention of the listener and leave a lasting impression. With this new EP, they seem to have yet again provided a solid few tracks which each individually leave the listener impacted by their gentle lull and smooth tones.
The opening track on the EP comes in the form of the title track Poison & Wine, an existing track which featured on the original album. Some people may consider it a bit odd to put on an old track on a new release, however it acts as a smart opener for this EP and lets the listener know that the new material is going to be very in-keeping with the track that they have grown to love from the debut album.
The first of the new songs is entitled Talking In Your Sleep. With a sparsely played piano and a gentle heart beat nestled in the centre of the track playing at the beginning, the vocal layers eventually wrap themselves around the piano as it starts to pick up and then growing strums of a guitar. The combination of Joy Williams’ and John Paul White’s voice works perfectly yet again on this track and the switch from solo to joint vocal layers adds brilliant effect to the track, especially in the chorus.
After this, the listener is indulged to a live session version of Between The Bars. A simple strummed guitar is the only assistance the duo needs before they set off on this track. White’s voice is most prominent on this song, with his soft, smooth voice singing the main lyrics, while William’s provides beautiful backing vocals and a gentle humming which assists the guitar to provide the melody.
The final offering from this EP, is Disarm (Daytrotter), yet another magnificently mellow piece with only an acoustic guitar to help out the pair’s vocals. Starting out soft, and gradually building to a crescendo, this track stands out as possibly one of the strongest tracks on the EP. The chorus for this song is probably the catchiest, and the way in which the guitar picks up and plays the loudest section to appear on the whole release, leaves a lasting effect which will sit well with any listener.
Unfortunately for the time being, the band is on hiatus at the moment. They have cancelled all of their planned tour dates for the foreseeable future and saying that at the moment they are unable to tour together due to “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition”. However, they have said that they still plan to release new music in 2013, and this new EP alone proves that business will continue as usual at some point soon. Until then, fans will have to wait for any opportunity to see The Civil Wars live, and will have to put this new EP on repeat to get their fix.
Poison & Wine EP 2 is available now through THE CIVIL WARS.
Words > Steven Morris