Written by: DR on 24/07/2013 17:16:37

With excellent releases from bands like Seahaven, Basement and Daylight in recent years, the dark, contemplative style of alternative music somewhere between grunge and pop punk has found a home in Run For Cover Records. Citizen are another quality band to add to that growing list. They have evolved from the straight out pop punk of previous releases to a sound which sees them explore the aforementioned sonic territory with enough assurance and quality to rank them right up there with their label-mates.

Whereas their previous work was spirited and energetic, on "Youth" Citizen are now a little older, calmer and more deliberate in their approach. The songs are still short and cathartic - indeed, the entire album is only 31 minutes long - but instead of charging at a high-tempo, the songs here are generally slower and closer to mid-tempo, focusing less on punk rhythms and more on creating spacious melodies and tense atmospheres in which their song-writing shines. The vocals are also darker and more haunting in how they layer different vocals - brooding whispers, melodic croons and passionate shouts - to effectively convey their self-contemplation. Although it may take a few listens to impress on you, it's a change that works for Citizen.

The first half of the record is particularly strong. Opener "Roam The Room" breaks fans into this new sound by juxtaposing aggressive, quick-tempo verses with a slow, spacious chorus and a great hook. "The Summer", too, does something similar with some of the most urgent verses of the entire record complementing one of the most atmospheric choruses. Album highlight "Sleep" is a great example of how Citizen build a capturing quiet/loud dynamic; the song begins with a solitary guitar and the introspective song-writing of Mat Kerekes before gradually adding gorgeous textures, all of which slowly burns together towards the song's huge climax of "Do you sleep anymore?". In a similar vein, "The Night I Drove Alone" carries on from there, also opening with a solitary guitar and Kerekes' vocals. This time, however, it's in the refrains of "And I should have crashed the car!" in the build up, not the crescendo, that the listener discovers one of the most memorable and emotionally-wrought moments of the record.

The best songs are generally found in the first half, but efforts in the second half like "Your Head Got Misplaced" and "Sick And Impatient" display a consistency to Citizen's song-writing and an ability to write moments of excellence to keep the listener hooked over the course of an entire album. "Youth" is something of a slow-burner, though. It will capture your attention instantly, but only through repeat listening will it begin to reveal itself and leave a lasting impression on you. But once you do, you will discover one of the most solid debuts of 2013 - one that any self-respecting fan of the Run For Cover scene cannot willingly miss out on.


Download: Roam The Room, Sleep, The Night I Drove Alone
For The Fans of: Balance and Composure, Seahaven, Title Fight, Daylight, Basement
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 04.06.2013
Run For Cover Records

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