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Youth Of Today: Citizen Celebrating First UK Tour

Thursday, 17 July 2014 Written by Huw Baines

For any band, heading halfway around the world to play songs written close to home is a big thing. For Citizen, it’s more than that. The quintet, who hail from the border of Michigan and Ohio, are currently making their way around the UK as part of their maiden overseas tour, a trip that involved a first flight for three of their number.

‘Youth’, the band’s debut, received its UK release just this week, but has been doing the rounds with punk fans on these shores for just over a year as an import and in the nebulous digital world, as a number of sold out shows on this tour will attest. It’s a dense, heavy record that recalls Quicksand as much as Brand New’s bleaker moments, with Mat Kerekes’ bleeding heart lyrics tied up in swathes of minor key melodies.

“We’re winding down on the record cycle and it’s been out for so long that it’s crazy seeing posts about ‘Youth’ coming out now,” Nick Hamm, one of the band’s two guitarists, said. “It’s strange and hard to get used to seeing that all the time. The first review we saw for the UK release was really good, like better than the US even. So it’s been really cool.

“This is our first time overseas or anything like that. It was a thing that at one point we thought would never happen, so it’s really awesome that we’re finally getting over here.”

The record was put out by Run For Cover, one of a number of US labels that has flourished in recent years and brought a new slate of hungry punk and hardcore bands into a scene that had developed a stale air.

The label has become synonymous with bands straddling the punk/alt-rock divide, with Citizen nestled alongside Tigers Jaw, Captain, We’re Sinking, Daylight, Modern Baseball and Pity Sex on the roster. As with No Sleep, Tiny Engines, Topshelf, Dirtnap or Bridge 9, the Run For Cover enclave has a specific identity that’s taken time to develop. As in the the halcyon days of Epi/Fat, Jade Tree, Deep Elm or Dischord, the discerning listener can increasingly be informed in their decisions before ever dropping the needle on a record.

“When we were first starting, Run For Cover was like the only label that we wanted to be on,” Hamm said. “For the label to be as popular as they are now, it’s crazy. And it’s crazy that we’re a part of that. It’s awesome. All the bands are really tight knit and I think that in this scene, the percentage of good bands is really high. Every band we get to tour with is great and it’s a scene we’re really proud of.”

Another cog in Citizen’s machine is producer Will Yip, who helmed the controls on ‘Youth’ and helped in part to bring about the leap apparent between the full length and their ‘Young States’ EPBased in Philadelphia, Yip has overseen records by La Dispute, Tigers Jaw, Pity Sex, the Wonder Years and Braid in recent years, bringing things full circle for those enamoured of the 'emo revival' tag by looking after their recent ‘No Coast’ release. Citizen are currently looking ahead to album two and won’t entertain the idea of working with another producer.

“I can’t even put into words how incredible he is,” Hamm said. “A lot of bands will say it and it doesn’t get less true. He really is like the missing link for a lot of bands. His personality makes you want to be better. He pushed you until you’re the best you can be. I don’t ever see us really working with anybody else.”

After getting underway in Norwich, Citizen will make their way to Kingston, London, Southampton, Plymouth, Bristol, Birmingham, Derby, Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds with Diamond Youth - tourmates back in the US as recently as last autumn - and Headroom.

Citizen Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu July 17 2014 - KINGSTON Fighting Cocks
Fri July 18 2014 - LONDON Borderline
Sat July 19 2014 - SOUTHAMPTON Joiners
Sun July 20 2014 - PLYMOUTH Tiki Bar
Mon July 21 2014 - BRISTOL Exchange
Tue July 22 2014 - BIRMINGHAM Flapper
Wed July 23 2014 - DERBY Victoria Inn
Thu July 24 2014 - GLASGOW Audio
Fri July 25 2014 - MANCHESTER Star And Garter
Sat July 26 2014 - LEEDS Cockpit

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