There’s always a point in the year around now where I literally just get sick thinking of all the new music there is out there and how much mental and emotional investment it takes to listen to it all and decide with any power at all whether it has any lasting value. Lucky for me, then, that electric citizen remind me of how music can be an ESCAPE – before Laura Dolan’s fiery voice which actually sounds vaguely like Perry Farrell’s and maybe Eve Libertine of Crass (who is actually a girl, appropriately enough), it’s impossible not to sit back and revel in the sonic marvels taking place, provided you’re a fan of rock music.
And electric citizen are fans of rock music, themselves, which is nice – the Sabbath influence is undeniable, which is odd since this Cincinnati quartet is actually a punk band at heart, evident at many places, such as the very start of “Heart Attack” where the rhythm guitarist I think does a great Pat Smear impression, and most importantly “Ripper,” which dive bombs into straight ahead punk somewhat like Soundgarden’s “An Unkind” or Nirvana’s “Territorial Pi**ings.” They are a punk band which loves grunge, which would be obvious from the gloriously verbose guitar solo blanketing “Cold Blooded Blue” (a song wherein it sort of sounds compellingly like Dolan is saying “cold blooded fool”), so the grunge guitarist reference holds up quite well, although as we know there were no grunge bands fronted by females.
Despite band tightness, drummer restraint and rock IQ and guitarist versatility, anyway, this is singer Laura Dolan’s album and without her electric citizen is not fully itself. In regards, then, to how this is a punk band at heart, one which happens to delight in rocking out prog-style sort of like a fiercer incarnation of The Black Angels, these songs never wallow in false glory, and everything stays fresh. “The Pawn” opens with a great distorted riff on bass and will call Black Sabbath to mind in many ways, with a tempo change for one as well of course the title matter of “the ____.” The guitar solo on this cut chimes in somehow more reflective and full of plangent tone, as if to mark the end of the album, although at this point we still have three more tracks to go, following. “The Pawn” stays rocking right up to the end, the band stacking up breakneck riff over breakneck riff, as they do all over this project, keeping your mind entranced and your head nodding. If Laura Dolan weren’t fronting a great pub band I could see her as the kind of flight attendant who talked the whole flight through, albeit one prone to making fun of expensively dressed women and/or sexist men on the flight, in the process.