Label: Run For Cover Records
Released: 6th October 2023
As the adage goes, if sharks stop swimming, they die. Citizen, it seems, must fear the same fate as they once again embrace reinvention in their perpetual march of forward-thinking evolution. Indeed, breakout ‘Youth’ may be a lifetime ago, let alone an all-too-brief decade, and while some may find it hard to reconcile the band they were with what they’ve become, there’s no doubt that ‘Calling The Dogs’ is a blistering alt-rock tour de force.
Even compared to 2021’s excellent and genre-blurring ‘Life In Your Glass World’, ‘Calling The Dogs’ finds the group embracing their pop and indie sensibilities. At times, this might manifest as barbed garage rock jams, like ‘Can’t Take It Slow’ or ‘Takes One To Know One’, or breezy power-pop, like on the excellent ‘If You’re Lonely’. The motorifik ‘Dogs’, meanwhile, sees the band heading into post-punk territory – and carrying it off rather superbly.
What’s perhaps most interesting about all of this is how un-American it all sounds. Of course, there’s plenty of cross-pollination between the UK and US when it comes to music, but ‘Calling The Dogs’ pulls as much from New Order and Bloc Party as it does The Strokes or The Killers. To Mat Kerekes and Co’s immense credit that they manage to coalesce all these different ideas into a cohesive – and incredibly svelte – 11 tracks. There’s no filler here, just a band laser-focused on pushing their sound and identity.
For many acts, the easy option is to try and recreate past glories. At this point, if Citizen were to retread past ground, it would feel like a miss-step. Instead, ‘Calling The Dogs’ is another delightful twist for a band that just can’t stand still.