Radar Band Of The Week No:81 – ‘Citizens!’

Sharply glamorous with a dash of Bowie and a glance of Franz, Citizens!’ disturbingly danceable electropop is rising, with help from Eddie Argos and David Lynch


Three storeys below the streets of Montmartre and along tunnels of gold brick, the Parisian elite gather before a red velvet curtain in a nightclub called Silencio. This place has (literally) been designed by David Lynch, and despite the €13 glasses of wine, its subterranean, stylish and mysterious surroundings seem perfect for the unveiling of London’s rising electropop wonders, Citizens! (exclamation mark used wholly on purpose).

They were named by Eddie Argos of Art Brut, after a headline on a Gotham City newspaper in a Batman comic, and they first came to NME’s attention with the two conflicting videos for their Hot Chip-meets-Tarantino single ‘True Romance’ – one by LA’s High5Collective, the other a Bollywood/kung-fu dance routine that’s already being recreated by fans on YouTube.

Singer Tom, keyboardist Lawrence and bassist Mike met and bonded over the obscure electro they were throwing on the stereo at a house party (having all failed to pull). ‘True Romance’, Tom says, is about a couple who have “completely cut themselves adrift from the rest of the world – I have this image of them lost, spinning in space”, while fizzing, catchy-as-hell new single ‘Reptile’ is a cold-blooded dancefloor crusher about “self-loathing and moral decline, possibly from having too much fun”.

Citizens! also muster all the alt.pop glitz of prime Franz Ferdinand, which may be why Alex Kapranos was so enthralled by their demos that he insisted on producing their forthcoming debut album, ‘Here We Are’ – an 11-track concoction of icy electronica, classic Bowie glam, experimental psychedelia, disco-indie, hip-hop and Colombian cumbia dance music, which is like salsa fritzed rigid on pure cocaine.

“We had a rule,” says Tom of working with Alex. “Say we had a drum track that sounded like ’70s Bowie or a piano riff from a Kanye song? Then the rest of the song couldn’t sound like that.” And have you had any particularly Lynchian experiences in Silencio? “I was walking in the corridor behind the stage and I heard a voice whisper ‘I know you’.” Spoken backwards by a dwarf, no doubt.

Mark Beaumont

Need To Know:

Based: London
For Fans Of: Hot Chip, Friendly Fires
Buy It: ‘True Romance’ is out now
See Them Live: Their first headline tour hits the UK in February/March
Believe It Or Not: Singer Tom wasn’t allowed to watch TV until the age of 12

Watch the band perform an acoustic version of ‘Reptile’ below, courtesy of Bands In Transit:

This article originally appeared in the March 10th issue of NME

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