Citizen has always been hard to fit into just one box in the last decade that they’ve been making guitar music.
Each album has redefined them, but none more so than their fourth full-length record, Life In Your Glass World. With this album, they set out to complete something creative on their own terms defining their identity, once and for all.
When talking about this album, guitarist Nick Hamm explained: “I don’t have a lot of regrets, but there have definitely been times when we felt powerless during the band’s existence. This time we really owned every part of the process. It’s easy to feel like you’re on autopilot when you’re in a band, but that’s not a good place to be this far into our existence. We consciously knew we wanted to break free.”
The album kicks in with ‘Death Dance Approximately’, which has some very attractive guitar work accompanied with dramatically good drumming. It’s a loud combination of synth and drums, and the volume only gets turned down a notch to bring us the distinctive sound of Vocalist Mat Kerekes’s voice. Amongst other things, he tells us that: “I beat myself up / Until I cave in.”
The next song, ‘I Want To Kill You’, is equally as great as the opener; some fans would have heard it already. This is because it was the lead single off this brilliant record and was met with a great reception for fans and critics alike. The drums are harsh, and the guitar is fierce. Kerekes’s vocals are controlled and slightly anguished at the same time.
As the album progresses, it’s clear that the drums are front and center. In fact, the tracks show a great deal of attention to rhythm. So it’s unsurprising to find out that these songs were mostly built from drums and bass first. We were warned in advance that the songs feature undeniably danceable beats and sharply grooving guitar lines, but we didn’t know just how great the chemistry would be there.
Other standout songs include ‘Call Your Bluff’, an up song with glistening guitars running throughout. ‘Pedestal’ has strong drum beats that beat harder than your heart does in your head when adrenaline is pumping through your body. Lastly on the list of standout songs is ‘Fight Beat’, which shows a sort of controlled anger, a type of self-assertion that spits out in Kerekes’s vocals.
The album runs through a few more songs before ending on its crowning glory, ‘Edge Of The World’, which takes us exactly there. The edge of Citizen’s world at least. It’s a song of hope in a sea of sadness. It expands into the future in more than just thought but musically and creatively into the band’s future. Into this new incarnation of themselves.
The more you listen to this album, the more it grows and changes, the more you hear. Most importantly, the more you see as it creates a very visual experience of imaginings. This album was recorded in Citizen’s hometown of Toledo (aka The Glass City). Kerekes built a studio in his garage so that the band could lay down these songs at their own pace.
It was certainly worth taking the plunge and shaping this new era on their own terms. If you’d like to be a part of the new era, you can get the album at all the usual places from March 26 via Run For Cover Records.