The title from Civil Culture’s most recent release You Are Greater than the Sum of Your Parts is not only integrated into the themes but feels like a greater metaphor for their sound. Civil Culture is a three-piece band comprised of Lead Jeffrey Robert Francoeur (vocals & guitar), Tyler Cicia (bass) and Conor Reeves (drums & percussion) but they have a sound that certainly feels bigger than the sum of their parts. I attribute this not only to the engineering but the textures and tones they chose. They never pour on a lot of distortion and the sound is full yet spacious. Certainly something that is inviting to the ears.
You Are Greater than the Sum Of Your Parts is an album I encourage you to spend some time with. The hooks don’t jump out at you during the first spin. In fact they barely jump out that much at all. The album’s biggest strength is the lyrics along with the consistently solid songwriting.
The lyrics in my opinion are a very nice balance between ambiguity and narrative. Take for instance the first track “Portion Be.” He sings, “And there's pressure babe to fold my head In that grave that money bought But I can't relate or see the day In where gold outweighs one's thoughts.”
One of the highlights was “Salvation isn’t Static.” Every element is integral to the music. The bass hits a variety of notes as the guitar picks at guitar pattern that feels rooted within classical Spanish playing - one of my personal favorites overall. Another solid song is “Form” which flirts with aspects of post-rock.
“Honest Doubt” contained some of the best lyrical gymnastics. He paints pictures with lines like, “In the night I fall Answering, answering To the siren's call Singing, Whats it feel like, On that mountain stroll?" and then delivers philosophical sentiments with lines like “There's change to take from all the life you're leading, It will always reverberate.”
You Are Greater than the Sum of Your Parts isn’t perfect by any means. Some of the songs didn't do much for me from a musical perspective and took a while to fully appreciate. At the end of the day the good outweighs the bad by a pretty big number. That being said, I think the band’s best work lies in the future if they continue on this trajectory.
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