High Civilization

Although the Bee Gees were undeniably influential in popularizing synthesized disco dance music with white audiences over a decade ago, by the late ’80s it must have been clear even to them that they couldn’t possibly compete on their own turf with the likes of Fine Young Cannibals or George Michael. So in their 1987 album, ESP, the Brothers Gibb turned to a seamless, melodious pop style that showcases their smooth vocal harmonies, including Robin’s distinctively quavery falsetto. It’s a style that well suits their innate sexlessness. Their new record, High Civilization, is full of beautifully crafted ballads about love and human harmony; the tracks are all perfectly tuneful and even soulful, in a washed-out kind of way, but completely lacking in funkiness. It’s a melodramatic style that appeals mainly to a pop demographic weirdly missing in this country. Europe abounds with women over 40 who listened to rock when they were younger and listen to funkless pop radio now. To them, High Civilization will make perfect background music for light housework and chores. In the U.S., however, 40ish ladies who were once into Elvis are usually still into Elvis — and for those women, High Civilization might sound a tad tame. B

High Civilization
  • Music