Album Review: Citizen – “Youth”

There’s nothing like some indie-rock infused emo for long summer drives home from the party where you just didn’t get the girl. Pumping out 10 tracks bemoaning isolation, angst and young self-doubt, the Michigan/Ohio band Citizen debuts on the national scene this summer with the appropriately titled “Youth.”

Sometimes as quietly passive as a warm blanket, sometimes bludgeoning with chocked back wails, Citizen has created an easy album to love after only the first listen. This is music to sway in place to during a period of moody reflection, when you’re crawling out of your own skin in confusion. For a group of very young men, some of whom are still teenagers, the lyrics sound surprising heartfelt and confessional.

Opener “Roam the Room” is easily the powerhouse song on the album. Unapologetic in stating “I want to know what I’ve become… when your friends say that I’m waste of time, then you can find out on your own. And if it’s coming down to pick a side then you can decide where you go. It’s hard to watch you roam the room.” While similar lyrics from an older singer might sound a bit creepy, coming from such a young band it sounds like a perfect time capsule to being twenty and the harsh realization you know nothing at all about how to connect with other people.

“I would love to feel alive again, but I guess that can wait” Citizen croons on “Sleep” to guitar driven sounds and a steadily thumping bass. “I’m getting sick and tired of this smile that I fake every day. I would love to speak my mind, but I can’t think straight… if you want to feel better, I’ll stay out of your way.”   No matter how assertive your personality, everyone has experienced a moment like in “The Night I Drove Alone” where they’ve watched a carefully constructed persona crumble down around them.  This self-deprecating confusion sounds a little like Nirvana, a little like Dashboard Confessional, and a little like Saves the Day, in a way that makes “Youth” meditative and familiar. The melodic introspective sound follows the entire album.

While a bit overwhelming in its repetitive somber tone, the hypnotic sound is nevertheless impressive. A bit less oppressive, the quirky-named “Your Head Got Misplaced” is easily my favorite track.  Single “The Summer” finder vocalist Kerekes biting out lyrics with a clenched jaw. At 3 minutes long, the song fades into a lull of melancholy. Sounding similar to their previous EP “Young States”, the LP “Youth” is overall, solid for a debut LP.

Citizen formally released Youth via Run For Cover Records on June 11. In response to a leak (seriously internet, cut it out), the band posted the full album for sale on Bandcamp for $5. Citizen will be on every stop of Warped Tour this summer. For more information, you can check out their website.

3.5/5 Stars

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