David & The Citizens David & The Citizens EP

[Friendly Fire; 2006]

Styles: snappy, pap-y, dance-‘til-you-drop pop
Others: The Thermals, The New Pornographers

Simple as Candy Coated™ power-pop seems on the surface, it's among the most difficult musical genres to master. You've gotta be cheery but sincere; lightweight but immediate; simple but effective; catchy but memorable; cheesy but not smarmy. David & The Citizens manage to meet each of these requirements, which, in light of their mostly unremarkable music, is pretty remarkable in itself.

Driven by unusually complicated bass lines that somehow plow straight ahead while swerving all over the road, this self-titled EP matches its energetic bassery with j... j... jangly, jumpy riffs, nicely delivered bursts of percussion and pleasant enough vocals. Nothing jumps from the fray and declares, "I'm new, I'm fresh, I'm exciting," but suffice to say, there aren't any inherent flaws... at all. All six delightful ditties are wrapped in declarative, personal vocals, and unlike so many pop samplers, there aren't more than a few passages where you'll be playing Name That Recycled Riff/Bridge/Melody/etc.

So what can David and his Citizens do to receive even higher marks the next time around? Ummmm, actually sir, nothing's coming immediately to mind. They pour their hearts into each track with reckless abandon and none of the sequences sound forced. Just don't expect to be moved by songs like "Big Chill," "Let's Not Fall Apart," or "Graycoated Morning" unless you're already a fan of sunny, ants-in-yer-pants pop, because its crossover appeal is limited. Last one to the lemonade stand's a rotten, burning shitbag!

1. Graycoated Morning
2. Now She Sleeps in a Box in the Good Sort of Denmark
3. Big Chill
4. Let Me Put It This Way Fridlund
5. Summer Is No-Man's Land
6. Let's Not Fall Apart

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