The Citizens – Lightheaded EP

The Citizens - Lightheaded EP

It’s been a few years since New York’s The Citizens released Post Cro-Magnon Drift and the band starts 2010 triumphantly with this solid EP called Lightheaded. The group apparently recorded the basic tracks live in a Brooklyn basement and the result is five engaging tunes that seem perfectly suited for summer nights spent drinking wine – at least that’s what my inner movie soundtrack conjures up.

While the group’s previous full-length brought many styles to the table, it feels like Lightheaded is more direct, or maybe just more fine-tuned. The Citizens’ distinct sound is still there, but the blend of pop, rock, and psychedelia is more cohesive and gives the EP that extra something special. Perhaps it’s the extra years of playing and writing together? Mark Lesseraux’s voice is still superb and is nicely balanced by keyboardist Katherine Miller who has more vocal duties this time around.

Opening track “Lost in the Light” is a modern psychedelic bliss-out with a full, soaring rhythm section. It’s the kind of song that makes your heart feel so full you might just burst. At just over 5 minutes there’s plenty of upswings to keep your emotions on the edge. “The Woman on the Radio” has a punkier feel and the group’s penchant for bits of funk sweeps through the track. “Walking on Frozen Water” and “You Are Here” have a decidedly 80’s feel, while “You and I on the Roof” – sandwiched between the two – is the sole track with a darker feel. If the other songs on Lightheaded have a summer feel, this one is reminiscent of late Autumn decay.

Lightheaded is a beautiful collection of songs. While a lot of what comes my way from New York City seems hellbent on glomming on to the latest trends in rock n’ roll, I’ve always had the sense that The Citizens are much more content doing their own thing – and it works so freaking well that I applaud them for bucking the trends. While I wouldn’t peg this release as a purely psychedelic pop-rock affair, fans of sunshine soaked, cinematic music should take the time to check it out on Bandcamp or pick it up from the band’s website for only $5.