The only way you can possibly approach Citizens! new album, aptly titled, Here We Are, is with one hundred percent brutal honesty and an understanding of how we came to this point in the first place.
Let’s address the audible elephant in the room and just get this out of the way, Alex Kapranos produced, nay, had a monumental part in the production of this album. This piqued my interest. Yes, I was snared by the “Look what Franz Ferdinand front-man had a hand in.”
Well Citizens! are NOT Franz Ferdinand.
If you’ve heard otherwise, you’re wrong. Are there definite comparisons? Sure. Are they in the same boat of wonderful electro-rock-swagger sound that makes up Mr. Kapranos’ group of influential gents? Yeah.
But allow me to say one more time Citizens! are NOT Franz Ferdinand.
Citizens! are no more Franz Ferdinand than they are Duran Duran meets Les McKeown during a drunken Thom Yorke impromptu dance party. Their bouncing electro-synth bass driven core drives home a funkified throwback style that is incredibly original and thoroughly entertaining.
Throughout the eleven tracks I was torn. Here We Are is not without its hesitations. Tracks like “True Romance” and “Let’s Go All The Way” certainly feed the doubt and second guessing anyone may have with the album. I can’t help but ask how much is Citizens! and how much is actually Kapranos? However, there is obviously an underlying talent present. Tom Burke’s vocals are fresh and fun, Thom Rhoades brings the funky riffs on guitar while Martyn Richmond and Mike Evans hold things steady on a solid rhythm section and Lawrence Diamond keeps things shaking on keys. Tracks like the island beat “Love You More” and the incredibly addicting “Reptile” build on my belief these gents from London are the real deal. With a range of emotion and groove depths Here We Are is sure to please fans of the Franz-style, but I will remain hesitantly optimistic. Good, but the best, I have a feeling, is yet to come.