Remember the first time you heard your favorite song? The Universe seemed to bend down and kiss you on the forehead; so perfect it was for that exact moment in your life. Be it in a crowded, smoky venue, in your room with your shoes off, or sitting in a friends car with the windows rolled down, when you hear that song your toe will start-a-tappin and your eyes will close as your relive that perfect moment. Now put on The Western Civilization’s album, Letters of Resignation, and prepare to experience that moment all over again. A musical tapestry woven of honesty, heartbreak, disappointment, and absolution, that from track to track becomes increasingly familiar, Letters of Resignation is a remarkable debut album. Forthright lyrics born of real life struggles set to sweeping melodies and catchy hooks. An exciting union of digital beats and electrified rhythms to their perfect match of breezy acoustics and ethereal harmonies, the music mirrors the duality of its main voices. The boy-girl interplay on Love Struck Angel and Bruise the Paper allows the listener to be a fly-on-the-wall for the verbal assault, the sweet kiss, and all of the unpredictable in between. Letters of Resignation is mesmerizing while catchy, fluid even in its heaviest moments, and just plain good.
Originally started as a recording side project for songwriters Reggie O’Farrell and Rachel Hansbro, The Western Civilization quickly became the main focus of the duo as they started to realize the undeniable quality of their studio pet project. The distinctly different vocal qualities of Rachel, Reggie, and then resident multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Gretchen Schmaltz as well as widely different musical influences across the board lead to a poppy/folky/noisy sound that was lovingly described by Houston Chronicle entertainment writer Sara Cress as “equal parts chaos and craft”. The band’s debut album, Letters of Resignation, was released in 2007 and a notable amount of praise from the press shortly followed. Following the release the band began playing with national acts and playing regionally around Texas and then embarked on their first national tour in late 2007. Touring in support of Letters continued and during 2008 landing The Western Civilization on stage with Tilly and the Wall, Maria Taylor, Pony Up, The Appleseed Cast, Microphones, Stars of Track and Field, Now It’s Overhead, Colour Revolt, Anathallo, and Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s. They have also made appearances at SXSW, Vans Warped Tour, and the Halifax Pop Explosion.
After a fairly long hiatus brought on by the band being split between cities in 2010, Reggie and Rachel have brought The Western Civilization back with new tunes and a new lineup. The new songs nod back to the tracks on Letters of Resignation but have a more refined and mature quality to them that only comes with time. A new release is on the way in 2019, but until then you can catch some of the new songs (as well as some favorites from Letters of Resignation) live in a Texas city near you!