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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Jul
Sounds like … atmospheric alt-rock reminiscent of Mae, Copeland, Snow Patrol, Death Cab for Cutie, and old-school REM.At a glance … catchy songs and thoughtful commentary on the human condition make Citizen a winner from beginning to end.Track Listing Perfect
Going Through Changes
Meet You at the Mouth
Still Believe in You
Thinking it Over
Better Run
How Long
Walking On
2 Into 1
Saved Your Life
Back to Business

Though it's easy to blame our singles-driven, iPod lovin' culture for the lack of cohesive albums that are enjoyable from beginning to end, occasionally we find one that go against the grain. Citizen is one such cause for rejoicing. Hailing from Washington D.C., Army of Me has been making music for nearly 10 years now, but Citizen marks the band's first full-length effort. And if it takes a decade of effort for a band to get it right like this, then I'd recommend the same course of action for others too.

Good things come to those who wait, and listeners can expect really good things from listening to Citizen. The band's roughed-up indie rock sound invites comparisons to Copeland, Death Cab for Cutie and even old-school REM at times, but frontman Vince Scheurerman's distinctive vocals and the band's thoughtful songwriting help them avoid sounding like a copycat. The relatable lead single "Going Through Changes" and the tug-on-the-heartstrings commentary "Better Run" demonstrate the Army of Me's gifts of songcraft and performance.

Keeping things varied musically and lyrically, the band also isn't afraid to deviate from its poppy, radio-friendly foundation either. On the darker, guitar-heavy "Meet You at the Mouth" (which seems to take its lyrical cues from Ecclesiastes), the band showcases diversity without sounding out of place. Equally impressive is the thoughtful, encouraging strains of "Rise," which was inspired by the Asian tsunami after Christmas in 2005.

With such an impressive effort, it's hardly surprising that the band has attracted the attention of mainstream publications like Alternative Press, or that they've landed upcoming gigs with The Warped Tour and Dave Matthews Band. But Army of Me's decidedly counter-culture perspective on the ups and downs of life provide plenty of take-away value to match their quality in sound, establishing them as another quality faith-inspired act that can bridge the gap between Christian and secular audiences.

© Christa Banister, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.