I’ve been looking for that perfect rock album for awhile now. Another (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?. Ya know, something that’s perfect from start to finish, nary a glitch anywhere. There have been a few in the last few years that have grabbed my attention since Oasis’ mega success, but none have done so as effortlessly or as profoundly as Washington D.C.’s Army of Me who do just that on their debut full-length Citizen (Doghouse/Atlantic).
I’ve seen Army of Me live twice before (once in fall 2005 during Nightmare of You’s CD Release Party and last summer for Mae at Irving Plaza) and both times they have been nothing short of perfect. They don’t overwhelm you with manic energy, blistering sweat or anything theatrical. They just rock. Simply and effortlessly. Polished, tightly focused, well-executed and ever-professional. There’s a reason the band has shared the stages with OAR, Stephen Kellog and the Sixers, My Chemical Romance, Dave Matthews and The Wrens, to name just a few.
Wikipedia says the band has been around under the name Army of Me since 2002 but has been recording music for almost ten years now (they started off as the band Cactus Patch). I personally was introduced to them while doing a search for Ted Comerford produced CD’s. Ted Comerford is a great new young producer and he worked on the band’s 2002 EP Fake Ugly.
As for Citizen, It’s everything that’s right about rock music. Pitch-perfect, well-enunciated, commanding vocals. Simple and subtly profound lyrics. Airtight melodies, slick guitar leads, solid rhythm section, and most importantly driving choruses, arena-ready riffs and soaring songs. It’s actually hard to believe the band is from America as they sound ever-so British. Personally for me they straddle the line between Oasis and Travis. But plenty of references have dropped the names Coldplay, Idlewild and Muse.
All the way around Citizen is top notch from album opener to album closer and is twelve songs of near perfect pop-rock. Picking a favorite or selecting one over the other is almost too hard to do. Easily a favorite for Top Ten pop/rock album of the year 2007. Do yourself a favor and pick it up and see them live when they come to your town.