Citing bands such as Van Halen and Queens of the Stone Age as their influences, the debut album from Detroit four-piece Citizen Zero manages to soar into the rock scene with intense, driving guitar riffs and belting choruses which prove that the band doesn’t have any intention of shying away from live performances.
Rock has an extremely loyal fan base and sometimes it’s difficult to confidently produce something experimental and expect success. Because of this, it is forgivable that Citizen Zero seem to play it safe with the sound on their debut album. This is not to say that it is unpleasant to listen to- far from it, in fact- but rather the album feels altogether familiar, and this makes it more accessible for new listeners and die-hard fans alike.
The first track, ‘What A Feeling’, is an energetic and intense introduction to the album, kicking immediately into a driving, powerful song. It pushes the listener into the album, fully immersing them, and by the end of the last drumbeat they are eager for more.
Comparatively, ‘Go (Let Me Save You)’ is a quieter track, proving that the band isn’t tied down by their heavy rock label. As the single for the album it had a lot to prove; although popular in Detroit, breaking into the mainstream in this age is no small task. Despite a slow start, the track picks up into something quite powerful, with a shredding guitar solo that is genuinely exciting to listen to.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable album, with a polished, professional sound that makes it difficult to believe that ‘State of Mind’ is a debut. Switching between ballad-esque tracks (‘Save the Queen’) and heavier, arguably more exciting ones, (‘Lure and Persuade’), it is undeniable that this band’s skills and talent have brought them a long way, and have the potential to take them even further.
However, it would be interesting to see what Citizen Zero could become if they have a little more faith in themselves. A classically rock album can be excellent (and this album could be described as such) and certainly the likes of Van Halen gained massive success producing them, but there is a sense that pushing the boat out just a little further could nudge the band out into the public eye. After being given a taste of their talent, it is only natural to begin to wonder what else they have in store.
Despite feeling a little safe, ‘State of Mind’ is a solid album, especially for a debut. Citizen Zero are now officially on the radar, and with a little more development could become a staple in any rock fan’s music collection.
‘State of Mind’ is out now via Wind-up Records.
This Citizen Zero article was written by Ezra Woodger, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.