Songs You Should Know: Citizen – “Stain”

Citizen have come a long way from their Warped Tour days. That isn’t to say that the group has separated themselves from that past — they did play Warped just last summer — but you certainly won’t catch them peddling “Defend Pop Punk” merch anymore. Citizen these days seem to be more of an experimentation in new-wave grunge, differentiated from the scene’s current shoe-gaze revival.

Recording their latest album Everybody Is Going To Heaven on Boston label Run For Cover Records with producer Will Yip, the group has managed to forge a new “era of Citizen.” Or at least that’s how guitarist Nick Hamm described it to me after their set in Boston while touring with Circa Survive. Sonically, the band has adopted a more “primitive approach,” rich in tones evoking rawness and grit. It was this same lo fi sound – unfurbished instrumentals and aggressive vocals – that caused Circa Survive’s frontman Anthony Green to take an interest in the group and invite them on tour.

The songs on the latest album range from the light, ethereal slow-burn of “Yellow Love” to “Stain,” a song any fan of any variation of punk should familiarize themself with. “Stain” features hefty distorted guitars, plenty of feedback, and gnarly screeches offered by vocalist Mat Kerekes. When the chorus arrives, it sounds downright bubblegum in comparison. The video for “Stain,” with a washed-out, grainy look, alongside the thick textures, harsh and dissonant riffs, and breathy vocals of the track, indicates that the band is aiming to bring something of 90s rock to punk.

Learn more at citizentheband.net.