Citizen – As You Please (Album Review)

Smearing two slices of bread with peanut-butter, dolloping each with whipped cream, and then finishing with a sprinkling of cinnamon will give you the tastiest of treats much like the sweet sounds heard on the band Citizen’s forthcoming album As You Please. Much like this sugary description, with their third album, Citizen sandwiches together some of their old and most recent sounds into one 12-track masterpiece set for release on October 6, 2017 through Run For Cover Records. 

Now some may be thinking who are the chefs Citizen? A fair question. Citizen are a midwest American band which came together while still in high school back in 2009. Part of the Indie Rock scene, their sound unified a variety of ingredients. Led by Vocalist Mat Kerekes, Citizen also includes Bassist Eric Hamm, Drummer Jake Duhaime, along with Guitarists Nick Hamm and Ryland Oehlers. Recently off a tour with AFI, they sprinkle in a dabble of 2013’s Youth and a pinch of 2015’s Everybody Is Going To Heaven to craft the work of As You Please.  

First things first, for all the recording junkies out there, the production quality heard on As You Please is fantastic. It is enormous, and oh, so very loud. That in mind, the entire album is packed with dynamically-punched, hard-crushing tunes that will sound just as great through the cheapest of car speakers. Long-time Citizen Recording Engineer Will Yip (Circa Survive, Balance and Composure) is behind the album’s lustrous, liquid-clear sound. 

With the wonderful production value put aside, “Jet” is the first song laced with a rehashing of the band’s prior album efforts, and will definitely keep longtime fans far from feeling alienated. There is also a video for this song which was used to help promote the new record; a must watch as well. After “Jet” ends, stay very silent, just wait for how “In The Middle Of It All” as Kerekes sings the title’s words, a-cappella style. His vocals sound eerie during this in what may be a multi-layered harmony, and it has this slight reverse-reverb thing going for it. A neat trick, these vocals continue as the bombastic ingenuity of Eric’s bass-playing and the precision of Duhaime’s explosive-hitting finish off the first phrasing. 

As for Kerekes: his vocal-sound and his melodies are very reminiscent of Singer Blair Shehan from the late-‘90s band Knapsack, and is a welcoming sound at that. Kerekes perfectly channels his anger and pain from what suffering has been witnessed within the area of the band’s hometown. His voice is always on-point. Every note Kerekes hits is lush with beauty, and every chorus he sings will unite anyone into a sing-along. He is an outstanding vocalist, and has been for the life of his career thus far.

Back to the work of Yip, he perfectly captured this newly-matured sound of Citizen without a single flaw to be had. Additionally, there is subtle use of electronics/keyboards heard on the album as well as some nifty recording tricks which adds such unique ambience, mood, and distinctiveness to each song, and to every instrument, for that matter. Yip draws out the thick, powerful chords from Nick and Oehlers, both of whom are fantastic players, blending their mix together into a humongous wall of beautiful sound.

Now, because honesty is the best policy, there is one flaw with As You Please. While each track has its own unique nuance, after getting midway into the album, the music starts to blend together mainly because they all have the same mid-tempo beat and similar structure. Nothing to fret over, of course, because each cut, such as “Control” and “You Are a Star,” does have its own quality as well as musicianship that will surely mask the monotony in the ears of the listener.

All this said, Citizen’s new album As You Please is a big, new step into the spotlight for this group of musicians. Their new album is chock-full of smart instrumentation, slick, masterly-crafted production quality, and some very moving, thought-provoking lyrics.

For many fans of Citizen, at this point it is safe to mention that what is out is the ferocity found on Everybody Is Going To Heaven, and the younger, Post-Hardcore side of Youth. However, what is in on As You Please is a more controlled, melodic sound rich in vitamins P(owerful), G(inormous), and A(nthemic). So much so that every song shows just how well each instrument has been mastered over Citizen’s years in the music scene. For a brave and powerful new album that showcases what Citizen may hold for its fans in the near future, CrypticRock gives As You Please 4 out of 5 stars.

Tour Dates:
Oct 17 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Oct 18 Chicago, IL @ Metro
Oct 19 Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall
Oct 20 Toronto, ON @ Opera House
Oct 21 Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
Oct 22 Boston, MA @ Royale
Oct 24 Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
Oct 26 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
Oct 27 Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre Of Living Arts
Oct 28 Asbury Park, NJ @ House Of Independents
Oct 29 Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Sound Stage
Oct 31 Richmond, VA @ Canal Club
Nov 01 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Nov 02 Orlando, FL @ The Social
Nov 03 Margate, FL @ O’Malley’s
Nov 04 Tampa, FL @ Crowbar
Nov 05 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
Nov 06 Nashville, TN @ The Basement – East
Nov 08 Houston, TX @ Walter’s
Nov 09 Dallas, TX @ Trees
Nov 10 McDade, TX @ Sound On Sound Fest
Nov 12 Mesa, AZ @ Nile Theater
Nov 13 San Diego, CA @ The Irenic
Nov 14 Pomona, CA @ The Glass House
Nov 15 Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent
Nov 17 San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s
Nov 18 Portland, OR @ Analog Theater
Nov 19 Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Nov 21 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Nov 22 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
Nov 24 Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre
Nov 25 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock

Purchase As You Please:

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