The Citizens, a quintet out of New York City, has captured something rarely heard or at least well accomplished these days on its latest effort, Post Cro-Magnon Drift. Not only is this album a complete entity that demands to be listened to from start to finish, but the band members have crafted a blend of pop and rock that not only draws on a variety of styles, but blends them in to something wholly unique. Where many groups borrow and imitate, the Citizens listen, learn and interpret. And the band members do it with mindful precision, melody to spare, and idiosyncratic lyrics. In short, Post Cro-Magnon Drift is a joy to listen to.
The Citizens are Mark Lesseraux (vocals, keyboards), Thom Loubet (guitars), Jason Dimatteo (bass), John Bollinger (drums), and Katherine Miller (keyboards, Mac laptop, vocals). Post Cro-Magnon Drift is the band’s second release and from the overall sound of the disc this five-some couldn’t be tighter. Not only is the songwriting stellar, it seems the recording captured the very essence of the Citizens – clearly not any easy feat for many groups, but especially powerful considering the complex, but subtle layers found here. Taking the total package yet another notch ahead of the group’s peers is Mark Lesseraux’s vocals. He has the kind of voice melodies are made for and he also somehow manages to suit each song style with flair and ease.
From the beginning of the opening track, “The Surfer,” it’s clear that the Citizens are going to take you on a little journey. Sometimes the direction(s) are pretty clear – on this first song the focus seems to be firmly rooted in 60’s and 70’s California psychedelic surf rock. The whole piece is so lush it soars to larger-than-life proportions in the span of just a handful of minutes. While the content of “The Surfer” takes a bit of turn from what would be standard fare, the Citizens only get a little quirkier on “Domingo Hirsch and His Internal Flying Circus,” “September 30th 1995,” or “Apache Strobe Light.” Among these as well as the other songs on Post Cro-Magnon Drift you have myriad sound concoctions – bits of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s in the form of prog-rock, classic rock, jazz, funk, pop, and more. Since many of the nuances here are fairly understated you will likely enjoy the discovery of each delicate gem with repeated listens.
The Citizens shouldn’t be missed! It’s easy to say that this band or that band is the best new thing to hit the streets, but in the case of this NYC quintet it would be impossible not to sing the members’ praises. Fans of any sort of quirky pop or rock should get their hands on Post Cro-Magnon Drift immediately and let the bliss-out begin.