Over the course of two full-length albums and a slew of b-sides and other releases (which were then compiled into the Regions Less Parallel CD), Auburn Lull has certainly made a name for themsevles in creating hazy, beautiful ambient pop. In many ways, their sound is a throwback one, harkening back to groups like Slowdive and even the Cocteau Twins in places. Begin Civil Twilight finds the group continuing down the same path, with twelve songs running almost sixty minutes in length.
Sonically, it might be one of their best-sounding releases to date, as it just swims in blissfull sounds. Album-opener "Light Through The Canopy" is a perfect example, curling backwards guitar loops, keyboard wafts, passages of male and female vocals, and muffled drums into a song that peaks repeatedly in delicate waves, with delayed refractions of instrumentation bouncing off one another and finally drifting into the distance. And really, that's how a good portion of Begin Civil Twilight progresses. Songs appear out of the ether (and sometimes barely become more than ether themselves) with occasional drums and the usual arsenal of hazed-out instrumentation, then melt away again. The group is at their best when they pull out of this narcotic cloud a bit, and tracks like "Broken Heroes" and "November's Long Shadows" both show that they can mingle their more atmospheric sounds with actual songwriting.
Too often, though, the group is content to simply coast along though the cloudbank, and despite some very engaging moments, the album largely comes across as too formless and thin. There are certainly some strong (and even memorable) melodies here and there, but in the end it all just kind of flows together into one unobtrusive mass.