Album Review :
Mr. Citizen - ...And So We Begin

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Band: Mr. Citizen
Title: …And So We Begin
Label: N/A
Release Date: 2009
Review By: Scott L


01. Your Love
02. In Him
03. Goodbye
04. It’s OK
05. Break

Mr. Citizen takes their name from Philippians 3:20… “For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:” And the question posed throughout this CD is simply this… are you a citizen?

Mr. Citizen is a 5-piece out of Alpharetta, Georgia with a sound that’s difficult to pin down. In spite of a somewhat muddy mix, which at times leaves the vocals sounding like someone singing in another room… in the house next door… under water, I was still all in until the 1:50 mark of the opening track. I’m not sure what exactly happened at that moment. Maybe the band just got together and someone said, “Hey, let’s make the weirdest, most chaotic sounds, record them, and then randomly insert them into the tail end of this song”. The proposal was seconded and passed. I’d like to think that it wasn’t unanimous and that someone left the band practice that day thinking to himself, “I just don’t know about that weird, chaotic thing.”

But, of course, that’s all speculation. And I can say confidently that after that one rough spot… Mr. Citizen’s 5-song EP took a turn for the better and turned out to be a pretty cool CD. I like the diversity between the songs and the creativity in their composition. It’s hard not to dig the music here, because most of it is really, really catchy.

Style-wise, there are elements of jazz, elements of pop, and elements of good old-fashioned rock and roll. Vocally, I’m almost reminded of Bloodgood’s Les Carlson. Almost. Just great range and an amazing high end. And while I haven’t listened to very much of Tenacious D’s music, hopefully for obvious reasons, what little I have heard leads me to believe that Mr. Citizen achieves a similar sound at times… albeit not the same satirical crudity. You can interpret this comparison as good or bad. But the Jack Black vibe is in there and the structure of some of the songs leads me to believe that these guys are about having fun making music rather than taking themselves too seriously. However, that’s not to say that they don’t take the message and the ministry seriously…

Lyrically, Mr. Citizen really shines. And I’m talking as much about the ‘let your light so shine’ kinda shining as I am about adept writing ability. The messages these guys convey through their songs are clear and gospel oriented. Check out part of the song “Break” which closes the EP with a flourish… “see past what they’ve done to me / and all the broken pieces that still bleed / shatter this cold shell of hate / that has my heart in a strangle hold / as if frozen in time / wake me from this sleep / shake me from this slumber / take this hate from me / and make me face the truth / until I learn to break”. Or how about “In Him” an in your face gospel song that says, “choose this day the path that you will go / day to day can’t fight with how you grow / so live in Him / in Him we live / in Him we move / He won’t be fit in / when time approves”.

Standout track was “Goodbye” and up tempo rock song that just hits home and sticks with you. In my opinion this is the song that makes the album worth more than just casual consideration. This is a great song.

Frontman, Loren Burrell says, “It’s not that we dislike what’s in Christian music already, we just think that the days of a true rock experience have gotten lost and we actually feel a call and a charge to bring that back. Any other bands who have tried to do that seem to cross over to mainstream, and in doing so have lost their message to some degree.”

“All the loud guitars, weird effects, catchy rhythms, high vocals, soaring harmonies and fast riffs are nothing if they don’t meet in the middle with the lyrics to tell the story of the song. The lyrics and the music go hand in hand to give the listener a total experience on what this particular song is about. It gives them more ways than one to connect with what the song is about and what it could and will mean to them.”

Overall: Mr. Citizen is a good band that has put out a good release. Good with some glimpses of greatness. In spite of the end of the opening track and a shaky mix, this is still worth checking out.