Best of 2016 Playlist

July 7, 2015

Citizen - "Everybody is Going to Heaven" Review

*Edited Aug 6 for some mistakes*
Currently performing on Warped Tour 2015, Citizen dropped their second album June 23. With members hailing from the Midwest, and a sound that echoes that of the grunge scene in Seattle, the band is making a splash in the music world with this release. This band's 2013 debut album, "Youth", grabbed my attention last year when I stumbled upon their song "Roam the Room". I was skeptical at first, but after a few listens I really got into it. One of my favorite songs is "The Night I Drove Alone", which is a powerful acoustic influenced piece that highlights Mat Kerekes' vocals. Flash-forward to 2015 and the band has released their sophomore effort. The obvious influences from Brand New, and the band's maturing sound are at their peak in this release. 

"Youth" was a solid album that introduced Citizen to the emo music scene. Their sophomore work builds upon everything they started in 2013. And as you listen, you can't help but wonder if the band was channeling Nirvana during the recording of the album. 

The opening track, "Cement" is a brooding, darker song that is driven by a killer bassline. It is a definite step up from their work on "Youth". A mature opening track that goes on to set the tone for the rest of the album. "Stain" is written in the same vein as "Cement", as another bass driven number, but with raw unclean vocals as the highlight instead of melody based clean vocals. 

The second song, "Dive Into My Sun" continues the alternative rock, grunge vibe that "Cement" opened the album with. Mat Kerekes delivers melodic vocals that suit this album to a T. In fact, overall their sound is much darker, and the lyrics are delivered with more angst. Some songs on this album are heavy and brooding, while others are full of punk rock energy. There's something for everyone. 

The 3rd track, "Numb Yourself" is the most like their previously released music, which is a nice addition to the album. It provides returning fans with something familiar, and allows listeners to simply enjoy the track, rather than adjust to a newer sound. "My Favorite Color" is the one of the most experimental tracks on the record. It starts out with heavily distorted guitars, and moves into a gritty verse that's backed by softer guitars. It's also the track that sounds the most like something from the 90s. Every time I listen to it, I picture the band wearing ripped jeans, flannel shirts, playing a small club in Seattle. 

But the album lacks a sense of unity. There are face paced punk songs like "Stain" and "Cement", and then there are songs like "Weave Me (Into Yr Sin)" that don't fit the bill. "Ten" provides the listener with some well written instrumentals, and high power choruses, but the verses are slow and methodic, you may grow tired of listening. "Weave Me (Into Yr Sin)" is another track that fails to make any real impact. It is a rhythmic piece that starts off slow, and monotonous, and unfortunately remains that way. 

Slower songs "Heavenside" and "Yellow Love" are just that, slower songs. Acoustic driven, and melodic, they don't stand out. The slow pace is a nice way to break up the album's sound, but they songs themselves don't pick up any momentum. They drag on and you may find yourself bored as the songs run almost 4 minutes. 

Summary -
Recommending for fans of Basement, Nirvana, and of course Brand New, this is one album that will definitely leave a lasting impression on listeners. The band tests out some new material, but stays true their roots and delivers a pretty sweet record. The pattern for this album seems to be "LOUD, quiet, LOUD", as is with many emo records. Unfortunately, if you were hoping for something very similar to Citizen's debut, you're not going to find it here. Fans will either be intrigued by the band's new direction, or turned off by the darker tone. One thing everyone can agree on is that the band's growth has produced some killer music. 

Favorite Tracks - 
I particularly like aforementioned "Dive Into My Sun", "Numb Yourself", and "Stain

Rating -