Citizen – ‘Life In Your Glass World’

By Romy Gregory

One of the greatest joys of following the bands that arose from the emo revival of the late ’00s and early ’10s has been watching their progression above the echelons of the scene. From The Hotelier’s transformation into expansive, poetic naturalism on ‘Goodness’ to Foxing’s bombastic, and quite frankly enormous ‘Nearer My God’, many bands may have taken different paths in their journeys away from the genre, always beguiling those willing to expand their horizons.

Citizen have never been strangers to such evolution. Once the flower child of Tumblr’s burgeoning emo scene, where you could barely move for reposts of their fresh-faced debut ‘Youth’s’ artwork, to the extraordinarily grunge-y sophomore album ‘Everybody Is Going To Heaven’, and the moody, melodic ‘As You Please’, it’s clear that Citizen have only ever striven to make records that work for them and them alone.

With that being said, the self-produced ‘Life In Your Glass World’ marks another seminal moment in post-emo genre; never yet has one of these bands made an album so driven by rhythm. Every song on ‘Life In Your Glass World’ was built up from drums and bass first, and results in a record beaming with beats that wouldn’t sit out of place on house songs and are meticulously woven into Citizen’s trademark sound, propelling the band to new heights. From the very second ‘Death Dance Approximately’ kicks in, Citizen have their captive audience bouncing in the palm of their hands.

Other musical nods (intentional or not) don’t go unobserved. Oddly enough, ‘Winter Buds’ is introduced with a guitar harmony early Avenged Sevenfold could only dream of writing, and the deeply experimental ‘Fight Beat’ is built round a bass line that perhaps wouldn’t be remiss in any number of dance clubs. However, the not quite titular ‘Glass World’ may well be the absolute pinnacle of Citizen’s career; a soaring, almost-ballad, building on the foundations of Citizen’s trademark double-tracked harmonies with a driving beat and interspersed with subtle flourishes of electronica.

‘Life In Your Glass World’ acts as a statement of intent in more than instrumentalisation; vocalist Mat Kerekes sounds thoroughly self-assured and exposed in his vulnerability. The angry defiance that shines through in ‘Death Dance Approximately’ — “This is the last time I’ll ever give you another piece of me” — ebbs and flows throughout, interlaced with crushing sensitivity. ‘Edge of the World’ bruises; eloquently and honestly expressing the deep tragedy and regret in heartbreak, whilst threading cautious hope throughout. Articulating such complex emotions is rarely done this well, nor honestly; lines such as “every song for you and I, when we felt easy, we felt alright” paired next to “I looked at you one last time, and knew never again I would sing your name” leave you floored at the pointlessness that only the breakup of a relationship can evoke.

The record parts with us on the decidedly hopeful note of “I hope you learn to love yourself”. It certainly seems as if Citizen have wholeheartedly embraced this mantra with ‘Life In Your Glass World’; wholeheartedly empowered by their self-sufficiency and their actualised musical vision, they have never sounded better. Perhaps it is a message more of us should heed.


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