With Waving, Not Drowning, Citizens Here and Abroad suffer a lack of distinction. Impeded by an unpalatable homogeneity, the album fails to distinguish the band from a glut of other mope-centric indie rockers laying pretty melodies over dreary rock arrangements. While they may have that sound down pretty well, so do too many other aspiring bands. That leaves their lines about addiction and despair falling far short of their intended impact. It’s just hard to accept suffering so aptly articulated within the confines such a commercially accessible sound. Even ignoring those petty claims of instability and their dubious authenticity, the album is maddeningly mundane. With nothing to sustain interest, it all too easily fades into an unobtrusive background. Only at the album’s end does the band finally break from their established monotony to create some real space and immediacy. Unfortunately at that point it’s entirely too late and far too much time wasted not making much of anything.
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