Army of Me

Citizen

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AllMusic Review by

After garnering a fair share of "best unsigned band" accolades over time, Army of Me finally inked a deal with Ohio-based indie Doghouse Records in early 2006 for the eventual release of their debut full-length, Citizen. There's a real sense that the guys love Our Lady Peace and loads of British alternative rock -- Oasis, Travis, Idlewild, Coldplay -- from the shimmering and dynamic buildups to the subtle accent that Maryland native Vince Scheuerman randomly affects in various songs. He has a silky and wholly likable delivery that easily pushes the band's super polished hooks to sky-high levels, yet always manages to retain a very down-to-earth feel despite its slightly expansive sonics. This works to the songs' benefit, and the opening pair of "Perfect" and "Going Through Changes" sets the tone for all of the sun-emerging-from-behind-cloud swells of earnest emotion that make up a large part of Citizen's repertoire -- an exception being the darker, fuzzier "Meet You at the Mouth" -- along with underlying themes of personal growth, freedom and searching for meaning in everyday events. One can only assume this persistent subject matter is at least partially influenced by Scheuerman's upbringing in a religious cult, which led to frustrations as he got older and became part of the secular world. "Better Run" builds on a slow piano, while "How Long" rocks harder with churning guitars and propulsive drums; both show Army of Me's ability to pull off different ends of the rock spectrum successfully, so much so that it's pretty easy to see the band scoring radio hits and jumping into the mainstream consciousness quickly. Ultimately, this glistening 12-song set makes it very easy to see Army of Me following in the successful footsteps of another little Doghouse act that could, the All-American Rejects.

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