Citizen / The Fragile Season - The Only Place I Know (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Citizen / The Fragile Season

The Only Place I Know (2011)


The Only Place I Know seems like a debut for both bands featured on this split EP: Citizen, and the Fragile Season. And while both acts seem a little heavily stooped in musically modern amenities, it's a hell of a start.

Citizen might cull members from both Michigan and Ohio, but they sound like they were birthed in the Pennsylvania scene within the last five years. "Fremont" begins with a fast, moody beat like Title Fight circa The Last Thing You Forget, but then adapts some poppier vocal melodies akin to the Starting Line or the Wonder Years before reverting back to more minor key guitars. All these elements are terribly familiar, but they use them really well on this opener. Their longest, "Walking Distance" is a longer, cornier anthem of narrated future nostalgia. "Common Weather" has these vocals near the end that remind me exactly of modern Saves the Day. Overall, their side is a pretty good mix of conspicuously poppy moments and more raw aggression wrapped in a contemporary but creative template.

Ohio's the Fragile Season take the backside with a far more expansive and haunting style. "Fathers Pride" prowls out of the gate with disconcerting guitar rings and gravelly talked-shouted vocals, like La Dispute or early mewithoutYou. Then the track quickly goes through a big, dense pound and a number of unexpected dynamic tricks through its nearly six-minute course, including a yelped, melodic vocal part and even a post-rock crescendo. By the end, the shouted, lyrical repetition regarding familial feelings might warrant a Defeater comparison. Overall, the song's actually pretty stunning. "Mediumship" adopts more elastic, emo vocals, sounding like mid-era As Cities Burn in the process, while closer (and longest track here at 6:31) "The Night You Showed Me Hallelujah" broods with another typically eerie atmosphere and pacing. If you enjoy the new, ambitious class of crestfallen, voluminous bands like Balance and Composure and Seahaven, the Fragile Season should be right up your alley.

This is essentially a more Midwestern located version of the Balance and Composure / Tigers Jaw split from last year: a couple of pleasantly poppy, creative tracks accompanied by a hard-hitting section of progressive, emotional desolation. Check it out.

The Only Place I Know EP