Citizen’s outpouring of creative movements is, for the first time, totally unchained in their newest record Life In Your Glass World. Even on the third listen, I’m having trouble nailing down the right words to sufficiently characterize the record in its perfection. I suspect that’s how it was intended.
“The Toledo, Ohio-based four-piece [Citizen] have been making dynamic, wide-ranging guitar music for over ten years, challenging expectations with each new album and refusing to fit neatly in a box. On their fourth full-length, Life In Your Glass World, Citizen have crafted their most singular work to date completely on their own terms—proving that only the band themselves can define their identity.” – Run For Cover records
Recorded in vocalist Mat Kerekes’ home studio in his garage, Citizen’s need to continue moving forward creatively went hand in hand with their desire to be fully in control of their creative destiny. Following their 2017 record As You Please, Life In Your Glass World bears 11 tracks of exhausted rage, bottled through years of tyrant rule and tragedy. Sadness, aggression and frustration seep slowly into each track; thoughtfully planned emotions are a continuous staple of Citizen’s work.
In a press release, guitarist Nick Hamm says, “This is the first self-sufficient Citizen record. There was no pressure at all and moving at our own pace allowed the songs to be a little more fleshed out.”
Nick Hamm says on their flood of self-actualization: “I don’t have a lot of regret but there have definitely been times when we felt powerless during the band’s existence. This time we really owned every part of the process. It’s easy to feel like you’re on autopilot when you’re in a band, but that’s not a good place to be this far into our existence. We consciously knew we wanted to break free.”
The record as a whole features choppy choruses, vocalizing cheery hints of violence in leading track “Death Dance Approximately”. “I Want to Kill You” is a pop-laced track with a video that features something out of an American Apparel and Peloton collaboration nightmare – “I just want to play god for myself/I just want war and nothing else”.
The last track “Edge of World” is like standing on a miles-high cliff over-looking the ocean, with a gentle warm breeze drifting along your skin. It reads a letter of well-wishes to listeners, “I hope you learn to love yourself” and the abrupt drums stop on a dime, leaving you to press play at the beginning, for the fourth time. It’s like they knew.