The Western Civilization

The Western Civilization

Whoa. I should probably note straight off that I never-never-never put bands up on this list merely on the strength of a couple of MySpace songs. (Well, almost never, anyway.) I usually try to at least see a band before I put ’em in here, just because, well, that’s been my general rule since this site started. Of course, these days I get out of the house a lot less, so I find myself feeling the need to bend/break the rules somewhat — what the hell, I wrote the damn things, so why not?

At any rate, local indie-pop/rock quintet The Western Civilization can claim partial credit for me throwing the old rules out the window. I first heard the band on the recent Mia Kat Empire comp and found myself mesmerized by the very first song, “Love Struck Angel,” so much so that I almost immediately jumped to their MySpace site and frantically listened to every track they’ve got up. And man, are they good.

It’s crazy, but despite their relative youth, these five kids — if MySpace is to be believed, it’s Anthony on drums, Gretchen on vocals/keys/guitar, Rachel on vocals/guitar/beats, Reggie on vocals/guitar/bunch of stuff, and Sara on bass — have managed to meld electronics, teenage heartbreak, and shimmery-sweet twee-pop into a melancholy, gorgeous whole that evokes the best moments of that whole Saddle Creek/Omaha scene while remaining pretty unique. There are some nice Azure Ray moments here with Gretchen and Rachel, and Reggie’s voice brings to mind both Conor Oberst and The Elected’s Blake Sennett in its fractured vulnerability.

Seriously, I’m liking this stuff, especially the boy/girl interplay on “Love Struck Angel” and “Bruise the Paper”; the music’s sad and bitter, but still driving and hooky in the best possible way. These folks are so together, so right-on good that it’s ridiculous — they make me look back to my own band days and shudder… Apparently the band’s debut CD will be out later this month (March ’07), and I, for one, will be eagerly looking forward to it. Keep an eye out, people, because if there’s any justice in the world, The Western Civilization will be gracing hipster magazine covers in the not-too-distant future.


Band writeup by . Band writeup posted Friday, July 3rd, 2009. Filed under Bands, Features.

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