Citizen have been selling their album at a few tour dates in the UK ahead of it’s release this Friday (6th October) so a few people have heard it – not to mention the fact it leaked a week ago, as guitarist Nick Hamm told the Nottingham crowd on Wednesday.
The fact it’s leaked didn’t curb the enthusiasm of the Michigan five-piece about their latest release however, and for very good reason. Kicking off with Jet (their current set-opener), As You Please gets off on just the right foot: hard-hit drums with relaxed verses climaxing in true Citizen style with both pushed and falsetto high vocals throughout the chorus. The song sounds like their traditional style yet a lot more mature – a natural progression from the band just starting out their recording career back in 2009.
The album varies hugely in style though, with In The Middle of It All bringing in synthesised vocals and the rest of the album sounding like a spectrum ranging between 2013’s Youth and 2015’s Everybody Is Going To Heaven seamlessly. The ending of the mentioned second track chops various tracks in the mix at varying intervals which creates a kind of faulty-record effect that is likely to confuse a lot of fans at first listen or during a half-listening session.
A lot of fans old and new are always interested in Eric’s bass tone – this album is just as phenomenal for that as both the others before it. The quality of it is hard to describe, but the crunchy (almost punky) tone underpinning the emo madness keeps Citizen in check both in the mix and live. Vocally too, Mat Kerekes smashes everything he touches. Whether it’s his cleaned up verses or the straining chorus pushes, he displays that he is the very best fit for the band’s style – whether that be crunchy like the debut, more shoegaze-influenced like the second or halfway between the two where As You Please sits.
The collection closes with Flowerchild which is also acting as one of their closing songs in shows now, featuring an acoustic guitar opening in the record version. By itself, the song shows off the talents of every single band member in their own style. The shift from acoustic to thrashing and loud to soft demonstrates everyone’s different styles, and Kerekes shines bright as a frontman as always. The final 30 seconds of the album being instrumental to play out the fantastically-written and performed fifty minutes of material before it is a fantastic decision that just leaves the listener to relax after the catharsis – the band has pushed out their point and left their audience to do just as they please.
Fast and angsty or slow and emotional, this is genuinely a stunning album that backs up Citizen‘s claims that As You Please is the strongest collection of work they have put out so far.