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Citizen K: Second Thoughts

Citizen K, aka Klas Qvist, a Swedish singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is an artist new to me. His second album Second Thoughts, a two disc set, was released in 2017. Qvist plays a variety of instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, various keyboards (including Hammond and piano), percussion, slide whistle, autoharp as well as lead and backing vocals. He also has a little help from Emma Augustsson (cello), Tobias Walka (bass guitar, electric guitar, loops, percussion, harmony vocals), Kim Gunneriusson (drums, electric guitar), Christer Rudmyr (electric guitar), Anders Nilsson (keyboards), Peter Roswall (drums), Annika Larsen (recorder, lead, harmony and backing vocals), Magnus Ericson (blues harp), Jonas Nordin (orchestral mayhem), Mikael Carlsson (electric guitar, percussion), Jens Ekelin (electric guitar), Peter Roswall (drums), Johanna Lillvik (lead and backing vocals) and Berra Karlsson (pedal steel guitar).

It’s not often I listen to an album I really like right off the bat but Second Thoughts did it for me from the very first listen. This is a near perfect pop album, at least to these ears. If you like bands like The Moody Blues, Badfinger, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills & Nash, America and 10cc you will likely appreciate what’s going on here.

It’s the vocals, lead, backing and harmony that really sets this band apart. I was reminded by bits and pieces of the band’s above, an acoustic strum here, a vocal harmony there, you get the idea. This album is just so easy to listen to I couldn’t help but get into it.

The first CD begins with the psychedelic infused pop of “Mindexpander” with drone-like keys and deep sounding cello. The drones eventually fade leading to strummed acoustic guitar and piano accompanied by Beatles-like lead vocals. This is smartly played pop music of the highest order. With “King Of Second Thoughts” you get one of the most gorgeous vocal arrangements on the album recalling The Moody Blues and The Beach Boys. The background Hammond accentuates the lush sounds. More Moody Blues can be heard on the catchy “She Will Probably Tell You” melding acoustic and electric guitars in a most delectable way.

The second disc begins with the near pop perfection of “In Holland”. Lovely piano and lead vocals are aided by swirling keyboards and gorgeous harmonies. “Wasps & Cars” is the longest track with Beatles-like interludes, stunning melodies, nice acoustic guitar and a few unexpected change ups, yet still in the realm of pop music. My favourite is likely the irresistible “So This Is Life (I Didn’t Know)”, a pure earworm if there ever was one. The CSN-like vocal harmonies in “When Birds Fly South” is another easy on the ears moment and the psychedelic flavoured pop leanings of “Citizen K’s Dream” ends the set in a most satisfying way.

Second Thoughts is more than your average pop album. There is a certain depth to these arrangements and a sophistication that is truly impressive. Excellent stuff indeed.

Track Listing:
Disc 1
1. Mindexpander Parts 1 & 2 (6:01)
2. Song Of Adjustment (2:58)
3. Siamese Twinkle Star (0:41)
4. Train Of No Forgiveness (3:40)
5. She Will Probably Tell You (3:19)
6. And Now, Let’s Turn The Page, Said The King (0:32)
7. King Of Second Thoughts (3:48)
8. Hang On To Your Sanity (3:24)
9. Remembering Helena (0:57)
10. Floor Thirteen (5:09)
11. Empty Chair (3:43)
12. Just Once More (Second Hand Opinion) (5:58)

Disc 2
1. In Holland (4:53)
2. Wasps & Cars (9:35)
3. Dutch Coffee (1:39)
4. So This Is Life (I Didn’t Know) (5:18)
5. When Birds Fly South (2:58)
6. Something Truly Magic (3:19)
7. I Think You’ve Been Cheated Too (4:22)
8. Rest Your Head (3:05)
9. (This Is) Our Town (4:14)
10. The Band In The Attic (6:10)
11. Citizen K’s Dream (4:17)

Added: January 22nd 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist on Facebook
Hits: 176
Language: english

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