San Francisco-based indie quartet Citizens Here And Abroad showcases some soaring winners on its sophomore set. Waving, Not Drowning collects autobiographical or partially autobiographical songs that chart relationships gone bad from numerous angles. Given the severity of some of the domestic problems in songs like "In The Dark," the record seems almost restrained -- this record appreciably benefits from being played loudly. We prefer to think that restraint as a foil to the tension that makes the music stand up like heavily starched pants. As the aforementioned song strides into its fourth minute it is floating a beautiful coda aloft, a coda that goes nowhere like the loser smoking cocaine on the protagonist's couch. The ominous "The Neighbors Called The Police" is another very strong track, lashing a scary, jerking verse to a gorgeus, smoothly rendered, harmony-laden chorus. The song's bridge (starting at about 3:00) also features the most amazing repurposing of the "oohs" from "Cleveland Rocks" (a/k/a one of the theme songs to "The Drew Carey Show") that you'll likely ever hear. Stellar album closer "Nerves" pleasantly recalls the sound of erstwhile D.C. indie rock act Black Tambourine.
If we had our druthers we'd have sequenced the barn burner "In The Dark" at the beginning of the record, although the tenser "Stranger" does a very good job displaying the band's wares: dueling guitars, dueling vocalists and emotional harmonies. Citizens Here And Abroad have a guitar-heavy sound somewhere between scene contemporaries Film School (check out "Secret") and '90s indie luminaries Versus (album highlight "In The Dark"). Waving, Not Drowning streets Sept. 26 on Turn. The label has posted two songs for you to sample -- neither is one of our favorite tracks from the set, but hey, that's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. We've linked to the MP3s below. The band hits the road in support of the album Oct. 7, but most of the dates are in the U.K. You can see the U.S. dates below the MP3s; full dates are at the band's MySpace yert here.
Citizens Here And Abroad -- "Accelerator" -- Waving, Not Drowning
Citizens Here And Abroad -- "Secret" -- Waving, Not Drowning
10/07 -- Pianos -- New York City, NY
10/09 -- The Annex -- New York, NY
10/28 -- Rickshaw Stop -- San Francisco, CA