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Citizens Here And Abroad - Ghosts Of Tables & Chairs

  by Emma Haigh

published: 17 / 10 / 2004



Citizens Here And Abroad - Ghosts Of Tables & Chairs
Label: Omnibus Records
Format: CD

intro

Mellow lo-fi pop from Citizens Here and Abroad, who, constantly on the verge of seemingly swinging out of control "display with gorgeous consistency an ability to shift from elementary wide-eyed jack-in-the-box pop into hard-tinged boppy snarls and glari


Despite their charming blippy exuberance and proclivity for mellow low-fi harmonies, Citizens Here and Abroad are in fact an entirely subversive organisation. 'Ghosts of Tables and Chairs' hinges upon the subversion of control, of being on the edge of losing control. 'Ghosts...' is as deliberate as it is full of whimsy. There is an overwhelming sense of fighting to escape control that emanates throughout. And beautifully so. This powerful sense of resisting the threat of submission to an outward force is bar none Citizens greatest strength. Moreover, they display with gorgeous consistency an ability to shift from elementary wide-eyed jack-in-the-box pop into hard-tinged boppy snarls and glaring sensitivity. Within songs like ‘The Voices’ and ‘In Flight Movie’, Adrienne Robillard and Chris Grove’s sober vocals and softly grinding bass mingles with mild distortion and muted drums. While the lyrically abstract ‘A Change of Scene’, and the flighty headiness of ‘Appearances’ tend towards a more sing-along jumpy fuzzified edge that make your inner shoe-gazer shrink gleefully into barely contained beaming. Citizens' proclivity, however, for dark poppiness and whirling soundscapes is no more exemplified than in mid-album, and may I say nigh-on perfect, segue between ‘Enter the Elevator’ and ‘Count Each One’. Beginning with misty-eyed fairytale joviality, ‘Enter the Elevator’ bounces straight into deftly monotonously chanting vocals with an undercurrent of bass that would make Citizens irresistible in concert. The driving lines of the bass and impatient vocals are constantly and wonderfully interrupted by the soft delicateness of a plinking fanciful xylophone that weaves in and out and under the vocal power of Robillard and Grove. Accompanied by almost neurotically oscillating guitar, it’s this accentuated plinking xylo that threads us into the gradually building tension of anxious bass and sharp militaristic drums of ‘Count Each One’. Of all, this track places more emphasis on the grinding harmony and vocal pulse of Robillard and Grove. Climaxing with the furious instrumental tension, they seem to be constantly on the edge of swinging out of control. And yet, it is precisely this highly-wrought duality that highlights the raw dexterity and fluid potency of which Citizens Here and Abroad are capable. The only thing left to wonder is: what would happen if they finally did lose it completely?



Track Listing:-
1 The Voices
2 Microphone
3 Appearances
4 Enter The Elevator
5 Count Each One
6 Change Of Scene
7 They Stay
8 Your Own Hand
9 In Flight
10 You Drive
11 Nerves



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