Civil Twilight’s Story of An Immigrant is a refreshingly eclectic indie album for this summer. At first it might seem like Civil Twilight’s sound is all over the place, but there are a few elements that remain in every track. Civil Twilight’s Cape Town percussion, prevalent lead vocalist and surf rock guitar adapt to the band’s experimentation by adopting elements from other genres such as electro-pop, indie-rock, soft rock and pop-rock.
The first track, “Oh Daniel,” sets the premise for a soft, acoustic album with its delicate fingerpicking and clichéd lovey dovey lyrics. Yet “Holy Dove,” the following track, eradicates that premise. “Holy Dove” is upbeat and utilizes an amped up band that sounds like a cross between Muse and the Black Keys. “When, When” shifts back to the band’s Cape Town roots with a quintessential South African rhythm section and harmonies reminiscent of Vampire Weekend.
The album’s namesake track, “Story of an Immigrant,” maintains the South African beat, but at a slowed down pace with melodic contributions from a dominant synth and warm electric guitar. “Let it Go” and “River Child” combine their usual rhythm shtick with a powerful piano and a guitar riff motif that suggests perhaps Coldplay and U2 were influences on these young musicians.
This is definitely an album meant to be listened to from start to finish in order to realize the commonalities between the distinct tracks. By adding a little twist from other genres to their traditional sound, Civil Twilight creates an album that feels more like a playlist rather than an album by a singular artist. With the fun indie rock dance party vibes and catchy lyrics from this album, Civil Twilight is one to watch — especially as a contender for the fine lines in future musical festival lineups.