In what has only been a short career, Ohio’s Citizen have released two solid albums and acquired a big fan base in only a matter of years. It could be argued that bands such as themselves and Basement were once perhaps placed in a somewhat ’emo’ category à la Brand New. However, ‘As You Please’ sees the band move on from this idea. The record sees the band perfectly blend what was good from their previous records – 2013’s ‘Youth’ and 2015’s ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven’ – with a touch of experimentation, to make what is their best album so far.
‘As You Please’ has the signature Citizen sound that we’ve grown to expect from their records, with fuzzy, driven guitars and frontman Mat Kerekes‘ easing vocals slotting on top of groovy bass lines and swaying drums. The production value is one of the main highlights, and it’s the third time that the band have enlisted producer, Will Yip. The record portrays a band showing a whole lot of maturity, creating a dynamic, crystal clear production, and anthemic sound on this diverse record.
‘In The Middle Of It All’ is a perfect example of this experimental build on their sound. Kerekes‘ poppy, Queen-like harmony blissfully sweeps you into the track, holding together the song like glue as you’re carried through melodic verses and triumphant choruses. It’s a dive into an alternative, experimental sound, but is a refreshing taste on the tongue.
One key element that Citizen have is their slow, heavy drum beats, which are present throughout ‘As You Please’, even in the biggest choruses on the record. Drummer Jake Duhaime‘s style of bulky, weighty beats sound glossy and fluid. Fitted alongside grizzly bass lines that bridges together the record’s title-track and the verses of ‘Medicine’, it’s definitely a winning combination. In fact, the big, beefy drums which boulder through ‘Control’ are one of the record’s greatest yet simplistic triumphs.
‘World’ and ‘Fever Days’ are sure to go down a hit with fans live. The huge chorus on the former smashes through with its waving lead guitar, carrying the full brunt of the heaviness and drive beneath it. The latter, despite its echoing acoustic presence, punches through with devastating effect. This is also a track in which Kerekes‘ lyrical prowess is present, gliding over this record, with great lines like “I’m a slave to odds / Giving everything I’ve got”.
‘As You Please’ is easily the band’s best LP to date, branching out their versatility whilst still definitely sounding like a Citizen record through and through. If they continue to progress in the same vein with future offerings, then they’re certainly a band set to charge the elite.
Written by Dylan Tuck (@dylankightuck)