One of a new breed of artists championing an old-school sound, London producer Citizen, aka Laurence Blake is a refreshing enigma. You won’t find a biography claiming he’s been making music since he first pick up a recorder at the age of 12. You won’t find any over-stylised black and white press shots. And you won’t find an archive of mediocre releases. What you will find is a cool, understated persona happy to let the music speak for itself. Previous releases on Love Fever and Kerri Chandler’s MadTech label thankfully more than back this up.
The follow up to 2012’s excellent “Room Service” EP sees Citizen returning to provide a second release on Love Fever. “Trax EP” is a triple barreled excursion back to the 90’s. Now, it should be noted that although this throwback sound is currently in vogue – albeit often dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century for a cheap thrill – Citizen manages to use the era as a reference, conjuring memories rather than abusing them.
First up, “Everything” is a prime example of his tasteful use of influences. Part luscious, euphoric pads, part stomping beats, the whole thing comes of feeling like the classic “Moby – Go (Woodtick Mix)” – by no means a bad thing. Seemingly uncannily simple, it’s testament to the deft production skills of Blake that he can create something so engaging and danceable with such a small inventory of sounds. This a classy track, and no doubt will have a lot of staying power.
“Worship & Tribute (Your Love)” is a more upfront offering. Discordant piano stabs bounce over a slick garage beat and soulful female vocals belting out “Your Love”, leaving it characteristically just the right side of tongue-in-cheek. Whilst stylistically similar to peers Bicep and Huxley as well as an entire catalogue of artists from 20 years back, Citizen continues to carve out a niche of his own here – another powerful piece.
The other offering on this EP, “Glastique”, picks up where “Room Service” left off. A slow burning, emotive evolver that brings the release to an atmospheric and downright sexy close.
There’s also considerable rumblings that Blake is planning an LP for later this year . Whilst it would be nice to hear future work sound more “now” and less “then”, we wouldn’t complain if presented with a full album that was a smooth, well produced and effortlessly groovy as this EP
Citizen – Trax EP (Love Fever Records) Drops March 11th