Review Summary: "I'm peeling off a film of a former me and you can tell."
Like Superheaven, Title Fight, and Turnover before them, the Ohio and Michigan-based Citizen are the latest Will Yip-produced band to distance themselves from their hardcore/pop punk roots in favor of a sound that sits vaguely among the midwest emo, grunge, and shoegaze labels. The group’s sophomore album, Everybody Is Going to Heaven
, marks their full transition from hardcore-revivalists to grunge-revivalists, and sees the band now mining the ‘90s for inspiration instead of the early 2000s. From the grinding, bass-heavy churn of “Cement” to the wistful, tremolo-backed melodies that glide across “Ring of Chain,” this album manages to cover a hefty portion of the alternative rock spectrum in its fairly standard running time of 40 minutes. However, for all its crunchy basslines, distortion-laden atmosphere, and deliberately rugged production, the only thing that actually ends up standing out about Everybody Is Going to Heaven
is the glaringly obvious fact that Citizen are a less distinct band here than they have ever been. “Yellow Love” is an attempt at downcast emo yearning, “Stain” shoots for the menacing noise rock approach, the album as a whole aims to be cathartic and unsettling, and yet Citizen doesn’t include an ounce of personality in any of this material. Grunge is already a stale and worn-out style in this day and age, and a lack of uniqueness or individuality really makes it all the more run-of-the-mill and humdrum to listen to. Hopefully Citizen will be able to come into their own with this sound or perhaps set their eyes on a more inventive and intriguing niche, because the absence of any identity on Everybody Is Going to Heaven
makes the album so mediocre that Citizen sounds like they’re paying tribute to other bands that already pay tribute to the ‘90s.