by Jordan Lindley
From the very first track, “What a Feeling,” Citizen Zero’s newest LP State of Mind hooked me in, and pulled me closer to the amplifier’s screams. Soaring vocals, saturated and full guitar tones, and hard-hitting drums not only break the ice on this album, but turn the ice to dust, dropping the listener into the deep end of Citizen Zero’s amped-up sound. When the first song came to an end, I forgot that I was listening to a debut LP, and felt like I had known and been a mega-fan of this band for decades. The best part about entering the album is how the driven sound doesn’t let up as you get nearer to the title track, showing off guitar solos that sound as if Angus Young and Tony Iommi molded into one person, with at least four hands.
The fourth and title track of the album, “State of Mind,” nearly forced me to air-drum along; jamming out to fuzzy and over-driven guitar and downright stratospheric vocal lines in the chorus was the point of no return I became a Citizen Zero fan in what seemed like a blink of an eye. Halfway through the album, I had expected to be able to predict the band’s next moves in each song, but was surprised yet again when “Love Let It” came on, showing off the range of Citizen Zero even more, with verses that reminded me of The Police and choruses that reminded me of a harder-hitting Pearl Jam.
What Citizen Zero excels at in State of Mind is providing a sense of fond familiarity and nostalgia, while at the same time, instilling an ineffable distinction and uniqueness in just how each song is presented.
My instant favorite track on the album is the penultimate “Bangin’ In The Nails,” which invokes themes of guilt, accusations, and sacrifice with the imagery of a crucifixion. Lead singer Josh LeMay begs the question “are you hanging on the cross, or banging in the nails,” offering a commentary on perspective and deceit. State of Mind wraps up on a story about leaving the fear of being trapped and returning to a safe place in the song “Home.” LeMay’s vocals reach a peak of soulful tone as this power ballad signs Citizen Zero off into silence. That is, at least, until I inevitably hit the play button again, to experience it a ll once more. State of Mind by Citizen Zero is available August 12th, 2016, via WindUp Records.
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