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The Citizens

Post Cro-Magnon Drift

(Yellow Ball Records; US: 16 May 2006; UK: Unavailable)

On their second full-length, the Citizens have gotten better, but, in some ways, less interesting. They’re more polished and more consistent songwriters, but the group’s performances lack a certain weirdness. Not that there isn’t plenty here, with the Citizens fully expressing their theatrical side. The difference now is that the group knows how to do odd; they’ve learned to do their own makeup and be their own barkers, even announcing “The circus is coming to town / It’s going to be a freak show” instead of just being a circus. Part of the fun of this type of music is the risk, but the Citizens have grown too tight to be on the edge. They shouldn’t trade in their skill in an effort to recapture amateurism, but they would benefit from sounding more endangered. Now they’ve proven they can write and perform strong songs, but they need to let themselves turn a little out of control. By their third album, they should just be hitting their strange stride.

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Justin Cober-Lake lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, kids, and dog. His writing has appeared in a number of places, including Stylus, Paste, Chord, and Trouser Press. His work made its first appearance on CD with the release of Todd Goodman's first symphony, Fields of Crimson. He's recently co-founded the literary fly-fishing journal Rise Forms.


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