Citizen - Young States (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Young States (2011)


Citizen's prior release made the Ohio act sound like a band birthed in the buzzing Pennsylvania scene where pop-punk, '90s emo and melodic hardcore are rightly treasured styles. While this could be said for their latest EP, Young States, as well, it impressively leaves behind much of the poppier, more playful inclinations of The Only Place I Know, the band's split with the Fragile Season, going for the throat via a darker and fuller, more grating sound that does them well.

Ostensibly, sure, Citizen is a pop-punk band, especially in the modern sense. But with their taut, measured approach, there's more going on here than bouncy melodies and three-chord snore--as with the preceding split, think Title Fight circa The Last Thing You Forget. There's a moody layer that coats Citizen's songs more consistently now, and it makes their angst easier to connect with and get behind.

The quasi-optimistic shades spreading across opener "Untitled" are interrupted by booming percussion and a rhythmic riff; there's also an equally smooth, relatively more mature version of their brighter outlook impressing closer "Right Through" as well, which finishes with a stomping, gang chorus-laden end that avoids sounding at all forced or corny. The best, most memorable moment of the EP comes in the title track, where the grinding chorus of "You're a constant / reminder of / reminder of / the sound" carries a bit of exasperation in the vocals and makes the tense verses worth their wait. A comparison to Only Boundaries-era Balance and Composure could be warranted with the pensive, mid-tempo build of "I Still Shut My Eyes," while "Detached" dishes out plenty of cool tempo changes.

Citizen might fit in too well with their contemporaries that very well might be influencing them along the way. But it's hard to deny how well they convert these inspirations (or others) into rather compelling, youthful melodic punk songs.

Young States EP