Third time’s the charm as Citizen offer up a strong return to form with As You Please.
I must begin by shaming myself and admitting that I only started listening to this band at some point last year. After being pestered by friends to check them out and seeing their slot on the Slam Dunk line-up, I finally got around to checking them out.
Citizen’s first studio album, Youth, will blow you away – and will undoubtedly give any listener that flits around the emo/alt/hardcore genre to add Citizen to their auditory roster. It is a raw and visceral rollercoaster that must surely be in contention when discussing the most impressive debut albums. 2015 may have been slightly more underwhelming, fans would have been on the edge of their seat for a follow up to this potential masterpiece – perhaps an unfair expectation – as Everybody Is Going To Heaven impresses a less lasting effect, save for a few standout tracks.
Now, the pressure is on for Citizen to replicate the hype that had originally been synonymous at the mere mention of their name. The release of Jet certainly got listeners going. The chorus is catchy and boasts a gentle bounce that ensures accessibility to the mass. The guitar parts are delicate and entirely pleasant to listen to, all the while the vocals of Mat Kerekes still manage to steal the show, thanks to the unique bite that us fans just love to hear.
Jet kick-starts what is an incredibly promising start to the record. In The Middle Of It All is positively haunting and once again, unlike anything we had ever heard before. The verses ooze feelings of unrequited love and the chorus provides enough punch to keep us excited. Then the album’s titular track displays the first truly mellow point on the album – a dynamic that must come as second nature to this band. One thing to note though – is the chorus a potential homage to Nirvana’s Come As You Are? The similarity is fascinating. Regardless, the track is as soothing as it is provocative – a very important addition to the album.
From here on out, it becomes hard to discern any more standout tracks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, what should be said is that the following tracks tend to exhibit the same mould that we have come to expect from Citizen. Slow-paced and melancholic songs with the occasional stomp on the distortion pedals to wake us up a bit. As fans, we can’t have many complaints. That being said, from a critical standpoint, it would have been nice if the band had continued the versatility that was explored at the inception of the album.
In Citizen’s defence, every song will have glimmers of uniqueness that will maintain your interest. The wailing guitars in the background of Discrete Routine and You Are A Star are awesome and gives the songs a Brand New-esque feel, a welcome comparison, I’m sure. The chorus of World is very nice to listen to, it exudes all the emotions that come when listening to Citizen all at once – there is anguish, promise and concern to name a few. In addition to this, tracks like I Forgive No One perfectly convey the spite that fuels a great deal of Kerekes’ songwriting.
As a whole, As You Please is impressive. It is certainly a step in the right direction for the band as they have seemingly shaken off any doubts that may have arisen with their sophomoric release. There are numerous reasons here to return to Citizen – just give it a listen and enjoy – you can feel them for yourself.