Angsty teens, listen up! As You Please is the answer to all your emo prayers, and it’s just in time for all of the midterm breakdowns. Self-proclaimed pop-punk band Citizen’s third release has made dancing on the boarder of indie rock and post-hardcore quite an engaging act with its mellow tempos but equally powerful, overdriven riffs. The album weaves together varying degrees of pent-up rage through its cymbal-and-guitar centered anthems while lead singer Mat Kerekes shouts his praises into a mic I can only picture him gripping with two white-knuckled hands. Interspersed bass breakdowns in tracks like “Fever Days” are sandwiched between driving, steady beats, while the track “You Are a Star” give you a breath above the surface of the sound before plunging you back into the realm of the amped and gritty. The stand-out in this album has to be “In the Middle of it All,” a middle-ground ballad with a harmonizing chorus that carries an eerie dissonance reflective of being lost and standing still, quite literally, in the middle of it all. It finishes with an artfully crafted glitchy yet rhythmic outro that compelled me to check and see if my CD was skipping and I had fumbled with the disk too many times. Citizen has shown to be the masters of sticking to their own formulated punk-meets-emo sound not only through this album but through most of their discography, and this also applies to their melancholic lyricism. The sonic resemblance of the reverberated vocals and dismal, dark imagery presented in the text creates an enveloping sense of contagious dread that surges up and down throughout the album and even within the tracks themselves. The album’s namesake track “As You Please” is a perfect example of the LP’s ability to create an undeniably tense atmosphere, where downcast vocals plead “Come as you please, as you want / I’m needing something to fill the void … drown in my veins and I’m yours forever” on top of popping snare hits that build up the tension. This album proves itself with every listen to be to go-to for new sad kid anthems.
– Erin Cribbs