The opening riff of “Death Dance Approximately”, with overdriven guitar and punchy bass, immediately calls to mind The Faint’s 2004 hit “I Disappear”. For a band known predominantly for being a capstone in the modern emo scene, this sonic twist is a bit surprising. Indeed, this track feels straight out of the British alt playbook. Slip this onto a Tony Hawk soundtrack ASAP if you know what’s good.
It’s clear the band has grown well beyond their Youth (pun intended). Life In Your Glass World exchanges melancholic lethargy for sassy grooves. There’s a newfound confidence in these songs, one that inevitably feels more mature. That’s not to say previous songs felt half-hearted; rather, this change feels quite stark in contrast. These new tracks are faster, chord-heavy, bass-driven. This is the kind of album that feels like it pays tribute to Silent Alarm, even if unintentionally.
Of course, “alternative” is one of the most ambiguous blanket genres out there. It’s worth fleshing that out a bit, as things vary quite a bit from song to song. These are three-piece songs – the kinds you find from bands like We Are Scientists and early Silversun Pickups. Guitar is primarily rhythmic, with bass picking up some of the slack and drums handling the rhythmic backbone. It’s a combo that works quite well, especially in the case of this album. It’s an economical approach to songwriting.
Arguably, Citizen manage this new sound just as well as their previous emo-flavored endeavors. “Death Dance Approximately”, “Thin Air”, “Call Your Bluff”, “Black and Red”, and “Glass World” are quick favorites. But even some of the stranger tracks (like Fight Beat, which feels like CAKE meets Billie Eilish) manage to keep interest through captivating rhythms and enticing melodies. It’s fair to say there’s a bit of attitude here lyrically, but it’s welcome. There’s no victim mentality this time around.
Life In Your Glass World sees Citizen at their best – while it’s a significant change in direction, it’s arguably a stronger one that sees the band successfully tread new territory. It’s an album that pays homage to the mid 00s, but the band manage to pull off their own unique blend of sounds here nonetheless. But at its simplest, this is a fun album. It’s high-energy, bass-heavy, primed to blast in your car speakers. It might not be quite what longtime fans were expecting, but it’s definitely a strong entry in Citizen’s catalog.