Citizens! “Here We Are”

Citizens! “Here We Are”
review by DZ

I didn’t want to like this album. I didn’t want to write a review about this album. I’m still not sure if I like this band. And it would seem that they certainly don’t need any help from me. But, annoying cheesy-hipster-first-

impressions aside, as I listened to the tracks on Citizens!’s (can you do that with an apostrophe?) debut album “Here We Are” I was, if nothing else, struck by the skill and reverence with which the songs have been rendered. I don’t detect an ounce of irony here. Instead here is a band of young skinny-jean British kids offering themselves wholly to the Great Pop-Pantheon in the sky and merely asking for admittance and maybe a good shag. Normally I don’t go in for this sort of unabashed catchy “everybody dance and have a good time” sort of music, but the arrangements, melodies, lyrics and delivery all drew me in despite myself.

Tom Burke’s vocal delivery on my favorite song, Reptile reminds me very much of Marc Bolan; it’s certainly easy to picture ol’ Marc slithering around with a feather boa. I like pondering what it might mean to become a reptile. In fact, the number of influences poking through on this album (Prince maybe? Bowie? Talking Heads? Duran Duran? Rocky Horror Picture Show? John Lennon? Yaz? The Cars? Yes? The Doors? the entire Pitchfork canon?…) is impressive and varied enough to avoid sounding strictly derivative as well as integrated enough to avoid sounding disjunct. Overall neither the lyrics nor the production get in the way and there is enough sonic variety to keep the momentum going. These are some talented kids. This is a catchy album. Well done.