Citizen’s third album As You Please sees the band experimenting with their usual indie/emo sound. More instruments and effects have been used this time, but the Michigan five piece remain grounded under the direction of their usual producer Will Yip. It would seem that despite the experimentation, you can expect the usual chunky anthems, fraught with emotion.
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Excessively emo crew Citizen screech the breaks on their post-hardcore wailing and chugging for the occasional bit of shoe-starring melody, making them largely familiar to anyone who’s spent some of their adult years listening to nothing but pop-punk in secret. That was me, once, and I’m happy for it to be again: ‘As You Please’ is highly active, fast-paced and often quite pantomimic in its feelings.
They’ll surprise you. The cooed gang vocals that open up “Jet” make me think I accidentally switched from vinyl to radio and am taking in a Queen classic; it soon dovetails into a grumbly emo tune with distortion-addled guitars, a dispirited bassline and proper gruff vocal whining. The whole thing is one big crash course in writing the biggest and best hooks -- it is pretty much the perfect song. They also make sludgy, noisy hellholes when they want, going for incohesion to take your breath away and make it stay away for a while -- the record’s title track is a big, boisterous mess of sparsity, feeling slower and more unbearable than its melodic core actually is.
Plenty gnarly and pissed off, this still feels like a surprising little gem of its genres: the guitars are versatile to the point of sparkling and spitting, and the overwrought bursts of vocal grandstanding don’t take over the record’s secret love of dynamics and atmosphere. Citizen, my grumpy teen-feelings havers: you're doing it right.
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- As You Please by Citizen
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