Review Summary: A mature release for a young band, singing about youth.
Truthfully I don't think I wanted this to live up to Young States. When this came out I had played that album hundreds of times and it had firmly secured it's place, if not as a classic at the very least a soundtrack to an era of my life; so when this came out I was hesitant, what if it didn't live up to their prior efforts, and if it did live up, what if it was better"
A questionable dilemma, surely, for who could avoid listening to something on the basis that they could like it TOO much, but still I waited;
And I shouldn't have.
This album shows Citizen after shedding the baby fat. I can compare this album to many bands but I cannot say that it sounds much like anyone else, they have left behind the derivative stylings of pop punk for a much less cookie cutter format, at times reminiscent of post punk, and at others, grunge, but never going too far one way or the other.
This band has always sounded vulnerable, but self assured. These guys know what they are doing, and they know it.
Mat Kerekes is a truly gifted singer and undeniably is the strongest voice of this band, the instruments are the soapbox on which he laments the heartbreak of youth. While Kerekes is a talented songwriter, he is surely hesitant to step away from that theme, and while they do it well I sometimes wonder what he is going to write about when he settles down and isn't so discontented with his interpersonal relations, but time will tell.
Vocally Kerekes is at the top his game and of this genre, his range and power is as impressive as the emotion that he conveys. In this album you will find everything from anguished yells (The Night I Drove Alone) and falsetto notes (The Summer).
The band, as I mentioned before, have always known their way around their instruments, and personally I cannot fault anything about the songwriting here, I just think they do mournful and angsty better than uplifting, and this is evident in that some of the more uplifting songs on the album end up feeling like filler (Your Head Got Misplaced). This is something they will undoubtedly figure out later, but drags down the album the tiniest bit.
For Youth being the first full length release from a young band who have always sounded confident and polished, these guys have proven themselves to be more than just a good pop punk band earlier than most bands do. For the small faults, this is an album that will surely sit very comfortably among the releases of other genre giants.