J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Now Departing:
Citified - The Meeting After the Meeting

The Meeting After the Meeting
(Eskimo Kiss ; 2008)

There's something to be said for brevity - albums that know when to quit and don't stick around too long. All too often I'm subjected to albums that have just too many songs, or even EPs with lackluster filler surrounding one or two solid entries. When albums come out that are honestly fantastic from stem to stern, it's worth noting. This year, so far, there have been two albums that have met that standard - first, the Whigs' Mission Control and now Citified's The Meeting After the Meeting.

When last we saw Citfied their debut self-titled release was clocking in at # 11 on the J's Indie/Rock Top 25 albums of 2005. It's been a decent wait since then, but the results were worth it. That first LP was put together almost entirely by one man. Now, for the first time on record, Citified is a true band, and the difference is obvious. Where the first album used a mixture of programmed drums and guitar work to create a detached and cool result, the new full-band recording is much warmer, much more focused and vibrant.

Channeling elements of everything from the Red House Painters to REM, from Echo and the Bunnymen to a more organic Depeche Mode, Citified is a band who bears repeated, careful listens revealing a divine craft for layered production. The melancholic, reflective "Weddings" is the EP's opener and the song most akin to Depeche Mode in style. The brooding keyboard and lyrics create an autumnal tone - "Open bar / means I'm safe," the lyrics implying something worth drinking about. The soaring "KL Gala" holds one of the EP's finest moments - a mid-song faux-fade that makes it seem, if only for a moment that the song is left floating in mid-air. The hazy crunch of "March Through Mayday" turns Citified into a contemporary of My Morning Jacket - blissful chorus and start-stop verse riffs that tremble and vibrate beneath the uniform reverb vocals.

Citified's tendency to create unique moments within songs is what makes their music stand out and it's "Read Like a Number" that ends up being the crown jewel of the record. The neatly picked melody beneath the propulsive swirl of the vocals creates a mighty song that really takes off in the entry to the first chorus - four-part harmony falls into place, one voice at a time, before crashing into the chorus. It's the type of moment that makes a song and can even make an album and here, nestled among the moments that inhabit every song on the album, it serves to push the entire album to a point above and beyond.

The Meeting After the Meeting marks a moderate but important step forward for Citified. Now that the full band has had a chance to make its mark on wax, there is a lot more potential for where the band can take future recordings. This is an EP of fragile strength and depth and it's also one of the best records I've heard in recent memory.

Rating: A(udiophilic) / E(xcellent)

(Rating scale: A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y)

Judge For Yourself:

Citified - "Read Like a Number"

Citified - "Weddings

Citified will be my guest on this week's show, February 20th.

Hear more Citified at their MySpace page.

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