Much has changed for Citizen in the past two years since releasing their debut full-length, “Youth,” and it shows in their sophomore album “Everybody is Going to Heaven,” which will be released on June 23 through Run for Cover Records.
The overall sound of the band has changed, moving away from the aggressive, post-grunge sound heard on “Youth” to a darker, heavier tone in “Everybody is Going to Heaven,” somewhat similar to Brand New’s “Daisy,” though not quite as good.
Unfortunately, change is not always good. It is risky, especially in music after a band entering their second album. A fan base has been established based on what they have put out and they attract fans of that genre. On occasion, it works out (see Brand New’s “Deja Entendu”) and other times, it fails miserably, (Finch’s “Say Hello to Sunshine”). Citizen changed too much too quickly and will alienate fans in the process.
That is not to say “Everybody is Going to Heaven” is a bad album, but it is definitely a grower. Initially, I hated the album upon my first listen, but I enjoyed it the second time around. A few tracks do stick out (“Numb Yourself,” which may be the one track most similar to “Youth,” comes to mind), but as a whole, the album fails to capture the success brought to this band by “Youth.”
The vocals on the album take a significant change as well. There is less singing, less harmony in the songs, and some choruses are completely unlistenable.
The final (and longest) track on the album “Ring of Chain” does end the album on a high note. Mat Kerekes harmony on the vocals both in the verses and chorus are at their best, and even somewhat hymn-like and the guitar work on the bridge plays well also.
Overall, “Everybody is Going to Heaven” was made with the growth of the artists, not with the fans. It is not a solid follow-up, but it does have the potential to be one of those albums that is simply ahead of it’s time.
Final Rating: 6/10