So, I was kicking around Bandcamp looking at Michigan artists and came across this album by Citizen. I have to admit, I had not heard of them before despite what I later discovered were several very solid prior releases. Having listened through a few times to this one, here are my thoughts …
They kick this off with “Death Dance Approximately”, which earns an immediate place on my list of fantastic song names. Right at the beginning there is a very brief organ sound…which for some reason I think is great. There are some tempo changes in this song that work really well and the drum is especially effective. Listen to the lyrics also as they are notable. One line that really caught me was, “I beat myself down until I cave in, I will pry and I will claw just to be heard.” It really evokes an internal struggle for me.
The bare bones drums that are in “I Want to Kill You” are great as is the guitar work on this tune. The beat here will certainly get you hopping along! Listen for the unique guitar right around the 2:25 mark – fascinating.
“Blue Sunday,” provides a nice down-shift from the first two songs and the Vox effect here plays very well with the tone and message in the music. There is really good atmosphere in this song and the cleaner guitar that comes in around 1:47 provides a good counter-punch to the other tones.
When “Thin Air” begins, the few few seconds of it have my brain scrambling as it immediately brings to mind some other song…which as of this writing I have still failed to come up with. That is not to cast any shadows here on Citizen, as the remainder of this song is all their own. There is a lyric line within, “I remember when you used to say that it’s time that complicates you,” which really caught me and gave me something to ponder..
The next selection, “Call Your Bluff,” has a solid, quick beat at the beginning that really builds anticipation and is combined with some poignant lyrics to make this a strong part of the album. I really liked the big sounds toward the end.
“Pedestal” is next, and all I can say is that …I really like the stark drum and the chanting lyric style…but the song kind of lost me along the way. As per usual, that usually means I missed something and I hope that you can find it when you listen.
You can definitely put on your dancing shoes (or boots…) for “Fight Beat” which has a great groove line right from the start and very interesting atmospherics. It is followed by “Black and Red,” which is the only song on this record with which I could not find any connection. On “Pedestal” I had the beat and style that I could hang onto but this selection left me behind completely. When that happens I do try to figure out why and in this case I think it is the range of styles within the song. Individually I like those pieces; however the arrangement here is just a little too chaotic for me.
Next up is “Glass World.” It has a great guitar sound at the beginning with a drum that cuts in between which really sets a solid foundation. The pacing on this song, which is on the slower end for the record in general, is very effective in delivering the tone and mood. That is followed by “Winter Buds” which, rather appropriately, has a melancholy ambiance and is lyrically very strong.
A very effective and fitting end-cap for this release is provided by “Edge of the World.” It has a driving beat that coveys an anxious energy throughout the middle part of the song.
Overall, this an album worthy of a buy and much listening. This band plays tight and brings a distinct style to this recording. This is some combination of emo- dance and punk that is very effectively stitched together. Although you can hear the various influences throughout, they blend them together well and make their own sound from those disparate pieces. They also have a knack, even on slower paced songs, for providing a lingering dance beat just below the surface almost waiting to explode. It does not always show itself, but it is there and gives you a sense of anticipation.
You can check out info and music from Citizen on their Bandcamp page https://citizenmi.bandcamp.com
Please remember to support your local bands, musicians and artists – community is powerful!