Album Review: Citizen - 'As You Please'

Having hinted towards new material at Slam Dunk back in May, the past few weeks have seen numerous single releases from quintet punk rock band Citizen. Keeping with a similar grunge sound from that of ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven’, released two years ago, the band do not disappoint. Whilst they keep a similar sound, they still bring a refreshing sound overall with the release of ‘As You Please’.

The main difference between ‘As You Please’ and ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven’ is that the newer album feels a lot cleaner in terms of melodies and instrumentals. Their earlier release had much more “noise” to it, so to speak. It felt much more raw and the instruments are a lot more jarring with the sound as a whole, being more experimental. Whereas with their latest release, they seem to pull things back to a mid-way point between ‘Youth’ (their debut release), and ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven’.

The album starts off with their first single release from the album, titled ‘Jet’. Having already released a music video alongside the single, many citizen fans will already be very familiar with this track and this is likely to be the song that had everyone singing back the lyrics to at their recent three-date tour in England (Oct 3 – Oct 5). The song itself provides a catchy chorus with upbeat instrumentals, paired with Mat Kereke’s raw and grungey vocals.

In The Middle Of It All’ came as the second single release, and also the second song on the album. The tempo changes dramatically compared to ‘Jet’ and upon it’s initial release, I was wary about whether I actually enjoyed it as it doesn’t carry the same energy that ‘Jet’ does. However, it began to grow on me. The song starts off slow, but it builds up to an enticing chorus that flows from Mat Kereke’s softer vocals, then hinting towards his more punk style vocals. This has a good mix of Kereke’s vocal ability.

As You Please’ is like the ‘Yellow Love’ of the album and takes on more of a romantic vibe, just like ‘Yellow Love’ did on EIGTH, with much softer harmonies and themes of love present in both tracks. Similarly, ‘You Are A Star’ takes on a similar approach, with more brash guitar instrumentals towards the end that interject the track and pull it back to the punk vibe we are used to with Citizen’s releases.

Possibly one of my favourite tracks of the album is ‘Medicine’, which feels much more like ‘Jet’ after various more toned down tracks in between the two on the album. It brings the pace of the album back up again, starting slow, then building up to a punchy and memorable chorus and slightly more jolting instrumentals.

The lyrics throughout the album remain poetic, whilst many hint to the feeling of being lost or alone, with both ‘Fever Days’ mentioning “a room of many bodies, still no one I could talk to” and ‘World’ referencing “There's a crowd in front of me, I just don't care, I hear a thousand people sing, I feel nothing”.

What makes this album stand out from other current releases is that Mat Kereke’s is able to showcase both sides of his vocals. If you haven’t already heard of Mat Kereke’s solo work, this is much more laid back and soft and it’s interesting to see some of this within various tracks on the album to keep things fresh. Looking at the bands releases as a whole, this feels to be the most dynamic with such a variety of sounds and tempos throughout. The band have really outdone themselves with this release and prove that they are able to continue to grow as a band and mature their sound as they progress throughout their career.

Review by Hayley Fearnley


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