By Lauren Rosier
In 2013, progressive rock/post-hardcore band, Citizen, readied their debut album, Youth (recorded with Studio4 producer, Will Yip). Two albums later, the Toledo, OH-based five-piece are welcoming their third full-length, As You Please (Run For Cover Records). I first discovered Citizen as support on Circa Survive’s 10th anniversary Juturna tour at the Electric Factory. I enjoyed their set, but never really gave them a fair chance by listening more closely.
With As You Please, Citizen takes its third release and steps into uncharted territory. There are still elements of the melancholy of their debut album, Youth, as well as their sophomore effort, Everybody Is Going To Heaven. Per the album’s store page, the five-piece focused more on “auxiliary instrumentation” and “sonic experimentation”.
The record spans twelve songs of melodic and hard-hitting progressive rock. As You Please is a new direction for Citizen: more melodic, progressive rock. But don’t think the five-piece abandoned their incredible ability to deliver an infectious, heavy rock song. Rockers “Jet” and “Medicine” will pull you in with their catchy hooks and heavy guitars. The guitars remind me a bit of late-Saosin centered by Mat Kerekes’ versatile vocals. “Jet” features him singing with a melancholy tone, then expanding into a fuller tone, both gritty and raw.
The track “In The Middle Of It All” is a multifaceted song with elements of bands like American Football, Saosin, and even Kerekes’ vocals have elements of ‘90’s alternative. Kerekes is also sampled singing the song’s title and stylized to sound like a chorus of voices. On “Fever Days”, Citizen channels UK rock band, Muse, through the use of heavy guitars and even Kerekes’ vocals are slightly reminiscent of Muse lead vocalist, Matt Bellamy. While on “Control”, they opt for delicate control musically and thrashing guitars.
As You Please showcases Citizen’s ability to create full songs that induce an emotional response. These songs are both haunting, hard-hitting, and raw. Their poignant lyrics are introspective and filled with raw emotion. This album will hit a chord with you upon listening and taking in every lyric. As You Please, for me, is one of the best albums of the year.