It’s easy to get lost in Wisconsin. Metropolitan centers might anchor to the Midwest, but patches of sprawling wilderness and bitter weather make for an American outlier. Barely Civil was built from this backdrop—four different dots on the state map. Despite this, their debut full-length We Can Live Here Forever plots a journey home, whatever and wherever that means. Stopovers across genre and structure keep the pace measured and lean, while Matt Riefler’s layered production explodes any breathing room into powerful statements.
Vocalist/guitarist and primary lyricist Connor Erickson leaves plenty of signage trailing to his home base. “Eau Claire? Oh, Claire.” marries Wisconsin landmarks with a portrait of cautious twenty-something love. “Stark” and “Kent” — a pair of slumbering guitar tracks in the back half — gain their names from his and bassist Ben Forst’s address lines. There’s also an outward mobility as the tracks grow in magnitude, cataloging sleepless nights in Super 8 motels, in others’ houses, in the scattered silence carried through cigarette smoke and whispered confessions. The nomadic scene changes match the record’s morphing between indie-rock’s straight-laced and stratospheric ambitions in minutes.
For Barely Civil, home isn’t really a place. It’s a collection of things—tones, conversations, milemarkers—that will ultimately find a home for you too.
200: Baby Pink