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Citizen K: III

In search of the perfect pop album. There have been many bands that have given it their best shot and have succeeded, depending on who you talk to. The Beatles, Electric Light Orchestra, Fleetwood Mac, City Boy and 10cc to name but a few. These bands and others like them have led the way in this regard, melding together delicious melodies and beautifully constructed songs that are simply almost impossible to resist. This brings us to a new discovery for me. The band is Citizen K (Klas Qvist) and their latest album is titled III. I recently reviewed their 2017 release Second Thoughts and it is a great album. Well, III follows down a similar path and is again a wonderful slice of melodic pop music that your ears will be delighted to hear.

There are no shortage of ‘60s and ‘70s references, see the above bands but Qvist is still able to keep things in the here and now while still looking at the past with a wistful eye. The sounds of an airport begin “Welcome Abroad” preceding a delightful guitar and vocal melody. Nuanced electric guitar and piano take hold before Beatles-like keyboards and ‘60s style guitar with just a hint of psychedelic adds a bit of pop. The background harmonies in “True Companions” are sublime as is the sunshiny brilliance of “Let This Be Love”, another Beatles inspired track with gorgeous background vocals. The guitar (both lead and rhythm) are just so good in the supremely catchy “Toolmaker’s Daughter” and the guitar chords in “Oceans Call” have some Floyd-like elements. Another great track with a positive outlook. The piano and acoustic guitar dominated “Cancelled Flight” is one of the more poignant offerings.

Like Second Thoughts, the melodies and musicianship is as tasteful as you can get. This album is so easy on the ears and has so many gorgeous moments I just cannot help but love it. Hopefully you will too.

Track Listing:
1. Welcome Abroad (3:09)
2. True Companions (3:03)
3. Let This Be Love (3:38)
4. Toolmaker’s Daughter (4:39)
5. Oceans Call (5:10)
6. Cancelled Flight (5:15)
7. How Are You Gonna Handle It? (5:16)
8. Radio Classic (No More Songs About Jetplanes, Please!) (4:34)
9. Once You Had (3:27)
10. Piano In The Rain (3:02)
11. Beasts Of England (2:18)
12. And You Danced All Night (Coda) (4:40)
13. After The Fact (Encore) (4:03)

Added: March 30th 2019
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band @ Facebook
Hits: 1000
Language: english

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Citizen K: III
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2019-03-30 00:59:17
My Score:

If Second Thoughts was the sound of Klas Qvist and his band Citizen K stretching out and reaching for Lucy in her sky with diamonds, then its follow up, III, would appear to be about playing it a little more simple. This is still late 60s and early 70s pop-rock but it definitely finds The K leaning even more obviously on their strengths of melody, catchy hooks, memorable choruses and smooth but never too syrupy vocals. Unexpectedly it’s the instrumental “Welcome Aboard” which does exactly as its name suggests, with aeroplanes overhead and tambourine jangles going all a jingle, before the ELO alike “True Companions” gives a more ready example of what you can expect to find. As on the band’s previous album, arrangements are key, here the layers of sounds, instruments and emotions all combining expertly as this album unfolds.

Air travel would appear vitally important, “Cancelled Flight” a piano led heartbreaker, whereas “Radio Classic (No More Songs About Jet Planes, Please)” is a Travelling Wilburys’ like acoustic strum and snare drum strut that proves utterly irresistible. There’s also a biting riff to sink your teeth deep into, while the powering beat is just too popping to ignore; but ultimately it’s the big sing along chorus that makes this song the ear snagger that it undoubtedly is. “Once You Had” sits once more in that Jeff Lynne like melancholy sway, its follow-up, “Piano In The Rain” revealing a similar trick.

Never afraid to throw in a shorter instrumental interlude, “Beasts Of England” lightens the mood, although the mid-paced lighter waver of “And You Danced All Night (Coda)” and the closing “After The Fact (Encore)” do ensure that a hugely invigorating pop of fun fuelled insight ends on a more introspective tone. Although, even here those luscious layers of melody ensure that you’ll never be too wistful for too long and if anything it actually reveals the inner strength of III, an album that can engage on a variety of levels. This is how pop music should be and it’s how pop music used to be. Thanks to Citizen K, it is also how classy, considered pop music will continue to be.

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