Album Review :
Army Of Me - Citizen

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Artist: Army Of Me
Album: Citizen
Label: Doghouse America
Release Date: April 7, 2007
Reviewer: Scott L

1. Perfect
2. Going Through Changes
3. Rise
4. Meet You At The Mouth
5. Still Believe In You
6. Thinking It Over
7. Better Run
8. How Long
9. Walking On
10. 2 Into 1
11. Saved Your Life
12. Back To Business

I realize that this review is a little late out of the gate… but you gotta know about these guys. You just gotta. Right from the get-go you know that this Washington, D.C. based band has that certain something that sets them apart from the rest of the unwashed masses clamoring to be heard. And it brings a smile to your face because when you’ve got it you’ve got it… and these guys’ve got it.

One of the first things that jumps out at you is this band’s sincerity. They believe in what they’re doing. And they believe in what they’re saying. The fact that there’s a huge convoluted back-story to the main lyricist is evident in the insane amount of depth he captures with relative ease. At some point during virtually ever song I had one of those moments where you feel almost as if the lyrics are your own thoughts. It’s almost creepy how accessible this album is. Which is nice, because very few things annoy me more than hearing a band with tons of talent or potential just mail it in.

While there seems to be some debate over just how religious these guys lean, there’s no mistaking the spiritual themes this disc contains. You get the feeling that they could write about anything and it would somehow come out Biblically analogous. So although you don’t find any scripture references in the liner notes (where do you these days?), the influence of a good knowledge of the Bible is blatantly obvious yet never overbearing.

The music on Citizen is a ride that spans the visceral horizon. From cold desert winds to rising, churning waves, to that feeling of reaching for the last hand hold in an arduous climb. Once more in English, right? Dude, these guys rock. In every conceivable way and if you’re any fan at all of jangly alt-rock, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice by not giving this disc a spin.

Currently doing some shows with Fiction Family, Army Of Me’s style of alt-rock weighs in as somewhere near a modernized re-imagining of an early R.E.M., Our Lady Peace, Hoodoo Gurus, kinda vibe. None of those bands really fit it for me in comparison, but you’ll find a taste of each. Along with a dose of The Jealous Sound and maybe even a little bit of the Cure in there somewhere as well. The instruments each stand out on different tracks. By design? Maybe. Although, I seriously doubt that they sat down over coffees and hashed out who got what song. It’s just the way it works. Everything flows so well and occasionally one piece rises a little higher and carries the moment. They are certainly not showboaters, just very talented musicians doing what they obviously love to do… which is make great music.

Console game fanboys may recognize one of the tracks, “Going Through Changes” from MLB06 or Burnout Paradise. But everyone will recognize the catchy hooks and the big builds that Army Of Me offers up on every track. No downers here. Just smooth sailing from beginning to end… to beginning… to end… to beginning… to end. I’ve gotta watch the repeat button on my stereo carefully because I could sit through this CD back to back to back for hours and never get bored of it.

I’ll leave you with a taste of one of the stand out tracks, “Meet You At The Mouth”:

“What’s it gonna take to put a smile on your face / You’re searching for a path to take you home / you’re a city on a hillside, in a country far from here / I will go and be a citizen of you / and I will meet you / I will meet you at the mouth.”

Heady stuff… and good to the last drop. Trust me, there really is no way you can go wrong with this one.