Citizen’s “As You Please” Takes the Hardcore Scene by Storm
Midwest band Citizen, are back and taking the post-hardcore scene by storm with their latest album, “As You Please.”
Citizen’s previous album, “Everybody is Going to Heaven,” gave fans hints towards what was to come for their ever-changing sound. The lyrical and musical heaviness of “Everybody is Going To Heaven” let fans see the darker side of the band, which was the perfect opportunity to lead people in and evolve later. Now that “As You Please” is out, it is evident that the band’s sound is completely redefined but never loses its roots.
Throughout Citizen’s career, they have had plenty of sound breakthroughs but “As You Please” marks a new era. By melding gloomy sounds and heavy drums, Citizen serves up an album that aims to please a variety of listeners. Even though their growth and change is evident, it is not extremely drastic.
Citizen proves that change is good and sometimes needed, as long as it is done properly. These aspects provide a perfect backdrop for their frontman, Mat Kerekes, who is known for captivating listeners with his softly raw voice and oddly poetic lyrics.
Citizen gave fans a peek of their evolution by dropping their newest single, “Jet,” prior to the album’s release. The track is sleek but still dynamically pleasing enough to show fans that they are not forgetting their old sound; they are simply enhancing it. Immediately, listeners are introduced with fast-paced drums with Kerekes’ soft-but-dynamic voice to follow. “Jet” gave hints towards how Citizen began to stray away from their younger emo-punk image and picked up a knack for a melodic and a more refined sound.
Songs like “In the Middle of it All” show Kerekes’ vocal and lyrical talent with multi-tracked refrains. The song features sound experimentation through and through, which completely works for the band. The multi-tracked song gives fans a glimpse of what Citizen has been waiting to unleash throughout their career. This also introduces Citizen’s matured sound through their successful but risky experimentation with sound. “In the Middle of it All” also incorporates some of Kerekes’ heavy-hitting lyrics that have the ability to resonate with a large audience. The chorus, “Sorrow; the celebration halts/ the blinding lights are gone/Absent into the fog coming home/Maelstrom; my love for you is strong/Absent into the fog, I succumb to your every want,” pairs perfectly with the gloomily mesmerizing riffs and soft drum beats.
Other tracks such as “Medicine” and “Fever Days” live up to the high standards set by “Jet” and “In the Middle of It All.” Specifically, “Medicine” shows how perfectly the band is able to combine heavy and light beats to create a perfect balance within the song. Others offset these harsher tracks like, “Discrete Routine” which is piano-centered and paired with a toned down version of Kerekes’ vocals. Thus far, fans have not heard many slower paced or piano accompanied songs, but “Discrete Routine” came in at the perfect time to show how well rounded Citizen has become. The inclusion of softer tracks does not mean the band has calmed down though; it means they have finally come full circle.
Citizen’s musical maturity makes them essentially unstoppable, which makes their future releases even more exciting. The band has successfully mastered the ability to pair dynamically contrasting sounds and intense emotions, which was typically a source of past experimentation. Even though the songs are all dynamically different, when paired on As You Please, they create a 48 minute long puzzle that fits perfectly together.
“As You Please,” by Citizen shows progression and promise. Citizen has found a concrete and refined voice that is here to stay and fulfill musical appetites of listeners ranging from punk to indie.