Life is short, sometimes hard, and hopefully, meaningful. This is a reality that doesn’t become obvious until you begin reaching a certain point, but in doing so, we learn about our humanity and what we want from our time on this Earth in the process. On their new album Everybody Is Going to Heaven, Citizen stand on the edge of that overwhelming realization, and shout all of those existential questions into the clouds without the anticipation of figuring out the definitive answers just yet.
2013’s debut album Youth introduced the music world to a group of mid-western indie-punks just finding their feet. After seeing the album chart in the Billboard 200, sell more than 20,000 copies to date, and embark on massive tours and sold out headlining shows, the band Citizen has become is more confident, adventurous and purposeful than ever. This poise shines through in the way they convey themselves both sonically and artistically.
Recorded with Will Yip at Studio 4, Citizen’s second full-length effort presents the most fully realized version of the band to date bringing dissonance and chaos to their captivating melodic sensibilities. The marriage of destruction and beauty weaves through the album from start to conclusion, with its sequencing mirroring a journey from the cradle to the grave that concludes with the juxtaposition between death and light on “Yellow Love” and “Ring of Chain.”
As songwriters, Citizen have adapted highly personal introspection as a means to confront fear, loss and honest revelations in their words. Lead singer Mat Kerekes splits his head open onto the canvas with both distress and violent bliss over heady topics such as a conflicted relationship with a mother on “Dive Into My Sun,” to self-criticism of a control complex on “My Favorite Color”. Loss permeates the surface throughout the album, drawing experience from the band’s last year of personal hardship, as evidenced on “Heaviside” and “Weave Me (Into Yr Sin)”. Collectively, members Nick Hamm, Jake Duhaime, Ryland Oehlers and Eric Hamm’s contributions to this chaotic life cycle are celebrated through an abrasive atmospheric core that can at times feel unforgiving, while nurturing in others.
Everybody Is Going to Heaven begins with a blank slate, explores its fair share of life’s ugly moments and tragedies along the way, but ultimately, leaves this world on its own volition and peace of mind. You could say this represents where Citizen are now: a band who passionately sets out to create their own art, and makes itself clear they have no intention of retracing past steps or mistakes set into the ground by others, or even themselves. It is their journey alone, and all part of their own distinct unique path that life has waiting for them.