The anticipated second full length release by Michigan band Citizen meets the expectations set by their breakthrough album to a large extent. Rather than sit with a similar alt rock/pop punk though, Everybody Is Going To Heaven evokes darker undertones. You can hear this from the first notes of the leading track, Cement, which has the effect of its title. It’s a slow and steady grungy rock song that has some hold with a chunky bass riff from the moment it’s poured, and sets up a strong foundation for the rest of the album to follow on.
What is easily recognisable about this album during the first listen is how thoughtfully it has been put together. Whether the band had a heap of tracks to choose from, or whether they wrote everything together specifically for the album, I’m not sure. Whatever the case, there’s a sense of diversity and, at the same time, continuity among tracks (including atmospheric extended outros in Dive Into My Sun and Yellow Line that bleed into the following songs.)
Numb Yourself, for example, has a pretty intense feel to it, with layered vocals that include some subtle screaming, and the second half of the song drops in tempo. This has the effect of accommodating the comparatively gentle track Heaviside, which will have you drifting into a comfortable daze by the end of it.
The heaviest track of the album has to be Stain simply for the screaming vocals, and I’m not usually a big fan of this style but the fact that Mat Kerekes mixes ups his vocals a lot over the record makes it a lot more palatable. The focus on the distorted guitar over lyrics in Ten is another effective mix up and contrasts with clean sounds and sweet vocals on Yellow Line and hypnotically steady Weave Me (Into Yr Sin).
It’s interesting to compare this album with Citizen’s music as early as their 2009 demo track, because their sound has changed quite dramatically in relatively short time. It’s promising to know they’re not stagnating; rather, Everybody Is Going To Heaven suggests that the guys from Citizen are reflecting on their music from the past to build themselves up for more that is even better and yet to come.