David & the Citizens
Until the Sadness is Gone
Luck and very selective listening habits have ensured I’ve kept my exposure to emo music to a minimum. As such, my defenses tend to get raised when I feel an inkling of a coming threat. The title of David & the Citizens’ Until the Sadness is Gone alone had me leery and singer David Fridlund’s lyrics centered around break-ups, breakdowns and other emotionally taxing youthful dramatics certainly has the potential to scare me away, but surprisingly, it doesn’t. Fridlund’s voice, while quavering and full of pathos, is surprisingly resolute. There’s more anger and fire driving his lines than resignation and whine. “Betina” is the perfect example of this. It’s a song full of should-haves about a girl Fridlund once knew, but his lyric delivery isn’t sad-sack, it’s vengeful and directed at the girl’s father whose property he wishes he would have smashed.
Sweetening the melodrama are The Citizens’ musical contributions. Far from being morose or maudlin, their pop infusions run the gamut of upbeat music, from the “Be My Baby” drums on “New Direction” to the almost klezmer-punk allusions of “The End” and “Long Days” to the Spanish grooves and scraping, clacking percussion enlivening “Betina” to “Glued to the Night” and its mandolin folk. There are nearly limitless textures to be had on this album. In this light, Fridlund’s emo-isms are more than forgivable. It’s the classic Smiths dialectic and I’ll be hard pressed to complain about a band keeping that fire burning.
Friendly Fire Recordings: www.friendlyfirerecordings.com