Review Summary: We live through written words.
As a writer who never really took to a particular instrument despite innumerable attempts, they have always been vaguely mysterious to me. As a result, lyrics and vocals have commanded my attention musically. Until recently, my instrumental tastes really revolved around the abject awe of technical skill.
As I grow up, however, I find myself drawn more and more to the complementary wedding of instruments to one another, rather than simply blasting out the fastest and most unpredictable playing possible. As You Please
is a prime example of the former. As brilliant as it is understated, the album envelops the listener in an almost hypnotic embrace.
Citizen's newest LP may not be perfect, but each listen seems to reveal some hidden wonder in each song. As someone not altogether inspired by their previous work, As You Please
completely blew me away from its first pre-release singles. Save a few forgettable tracks, the album is stacked with irresistible tracks littered with hints of a rich artistic heritage.
In actuality, it takes a few listens through to fully realize that each band member contributes equally and sets the stage to highlight one another. Young as they might be, As You Please
showcases Citizen in perfect harmony with themselves. Tracks like "Jet," "Ugly Luck," and "Fever Days" draw you in with all the infectiousness of a flu near the change of seasons, while still having plenty of easter eggs to crack upon revisiting.
Hell, even today's criminally-underused bass is more or less excellent throughout the album, accompanied by a full cast of virtuoso performances that play still nice with one another. In a year utterly littered with releases by modern emo juggernauts, As You Please
punches well above its weight class to solidly contend with the likes of a resurgent Brand New.
Sure, veritable modern-emo god Will Yip's benevolent guiding hand is evident throughout, and it certainly fits a niche like a puzzle piece, but oddly that doesn't seem to take anything away from As You Please
. Listening from song to song is a rosy-goggled walk down emo-indie memory lane, with obvious influences that let you almost trace the lineage As You Please
stands to inherit.
Strangely enough, I didn't actually find myself even digesting the lyrics until nearly memorizing most of my favorite tracks. Vocalist Mat Kerekes' delivery near-totally outshined the impressive writing on display from front to back. As catchy and radio-friendly as it is nuanced and emotive, As You Please
listens like a masterpiece in disguise, and successfully contributes to an almost impossibly good year of releases. And if you're Will Yip, the inevitable criticism really doesn't hold a candle to the objective success.