With their third full-length album, Citizen are laughing loudly into the faces of those who thought the quintet had nothing left to explore after releasing two records that instantly became essentials for every emo aficionado’s collection. In a world that incessantly creates new genres, “As You Please” proves that, even though Citizen might have already found their place, that does by no means imply that they’ve run out of ideas.
The opener, “Jet”, acts as a reminder to show us where Citizen are coming from and it already offers a glimpse of where they plan to take us in the next fifty minutes, too – spoiler alert: there are lots of experiments coming at you. Be it “In The Middle Of It All”, which starts with choir-like high-pitched vocals before launching into more familiar, somber tones, or “World”, which presents the band at their most melodic, almost drifting into pop-punk. “Discrete Routine”, a slow, piano-driven song in which, at first listen, nothing -except for Mat Kerekes’ vocals- suggests that this could be a Citizen song, even takes on a Brand New level of increasing tempo, volume and complexity. The dark, accusing lyrics suggest that these songs weren’t just written out of personal interest either.
Even those tracks with a simpler structure, like “Medicine” or “Control”, become special by the ever-present passion that acts as a fundament for every Citizen song. I’ve wracked my brain trying to find a negative thing to say about this record, but I have to disappoint you here. There are so many ideas squeezed into these twelve songs that you’ll discover something new with every listen. Despite, or maybe even due to, the tentative steps toward different elements, “As You Please” is as them as it gets… plus, there’s an extraordinary amount of catchy moments, hooks, lyrics.
Faultless Rating: ✔✔✔✔✔
Song recommendation(s): Control, Discrete Routine, I Forgive No One
Their knack for the quiet and dramatic has always been present in Manchester Orchestra’s work. On some records it was rather underlying, while more explicit on others, so it’s not surprising that they chose to amplify it to the point of perfection on “A Black Mile to the Surface”. Carefully constructed melodies that complement front man Andy Hull’s extraordinary timbre, paired with complex, harmonic guitar parts and highly emotional lyrics carrying an almost unbearable weight – that’s what we already know, and what’s here to stay.
The addition of synth elements, however, benefits the creation of a somber, yet somehow content atmosphere, resulting in the birth of an abstract place you’ll never want to leave. You’ll find lyrics that speak in riddles, but you’ll almost certainly find fractures of yourself in a lot of them. You’ll find comfort, food for thought, as well as your new favorite song to cry to.
Unlike their former records, this album lacks a point that raises your feet off the ground, hitting your eardrums real hard, tearing out your heart. Where the previous ones grew loud, “A Black Mile to the Surface” fades from its comparably subtle buildups again and settles at a calmer tone. Less like a rollercoaster, more like a peaceful drive through the night. What some people might miss, I do not. This record is all that I didn’t know I needed.
Faultless Rating: ✔✔✔✔✔
Song recommendation(s): The Gold, The Moth, The Silence