New band of the day – No 1,149: Citizens!

Produced by Alex Kapranos, this promising lot operate a hair's breadth from Franz Ferdinand's funkily acerbic style

Hometown: London.

The lineup: Martyn, Thom, Tom, Lawrence, Mike.

The background: They're evidently running out of band names. There's just one Google-click (and tiny lexical distinction) between Foxes! and Foxes, and the same goes for Citizen and Citizens!, the act under scrutiny today. Be careful, because it could mean the difference between a good band and a terrible one.

Citizens! are good. Or you could say: they're good, Citizens!, although how they behave on a day-to-day basis we have no idea. They're a five-piece from London who have just signed to French electronic/indie label Kitsuné and their debut album, due early next year, has been produced by Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. This augurs well, because for us – and we accept this is hardly a fashionable statement to make, long after their heyday – Franz were the best British indie guitar band of the last decade, not the Libertines or Arctic Monkeys. John Harris wrote a great article for the Guardian around the release of Franz's Do You Want To?, the gist of which was: stop being so blasé about this band, this new single is so fine there should be dancing in the street and a national holiday. Well Citizens!, with Kapranos in the producer's chair, are within a hair's breadth of creating something as funkily acerbic as Do You Want To? (or Take Me Out). We can feel a national holiday coming on.

Other reasons to be intrigued: the band were approached by LA's High 5 Collective – the team behind shorts for our two favourite acts of 2011, the Weeknd and Odd Future – who asked if they could create a video for them. And they believe that "pop is not a dirty word. It's a holy one." Of course, pop is also a broad term, and can be ascribed to any period of music between the Beatles and Beyoncé. For Citizens!, pop is something David Bowie did in the 70s – they conflate glam-era Bowie and Bowie in Berlin – and what the "alienated synthesists" did in 1981, with some of the tart arrogance of (the ludicrously overrated) Suede and louche energy of (the stupendously undervalued) Franz.

Their debut single, True Romance, is a supremely infectious affair, a back-to-the-future job that sounds like an early-70s Bowie-esque vision of the 80s – what Diamond Dogs might have sounded like remixed by Martin Rushent. Citizens! say they despise retromania, though they're steeped in the past – but who cares, they choose their elements well, and they've assembled something great out of them. The singer has that tough-fey way of singing that Bowie, and then Steve Harley and pretty much everyone for a few years after him, employed – sort of Dylan if he wore frilly chemises and eyeliner. It all feels mediated and premeditated, but then who said calculation was the enemy of inspiration? Not us. We've heard five of their songs and they're all, there or thereabouts, fantastic. We apologise unreservedly to those who demand cool critical judgment, but for now – well, you could say they're the new band of the day.

The buzz: "We're feeling this David Bowie-esque indie-pop group" –

The truth: This could be the start of a True Romance.

Most likely to: Induce widespread street-dancing.

Least likely to: Force parliament to institute a national holiday.

What to buy: Debut single True Romance is released by Kitsuné on 19 December.

File next to: Bowie, Bolan, Sparks, Suede.


Wednesday's new band: Trippple Nippples.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
New band of the day – Purity Ring (No 1,244)
Let us dream of fractured skulls and holes drilled in eyelids. Welcome to the world of a band setting the blogosphere ablaze

Paul Lester

05, Apr, 2012 @2:40 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 977: AlunaGeorge
This London duo use R&B tropes and techniques to create pop music bright enough to light up the charts

Paul Lester

02, Mar, 2011 @4:45 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 803: Civil Civic
This duo's brainiac mix of math rock, prog and electronica is never less than clever, intricate and complex

Paul Lester

08, Jun, 2010 @3:15 PM

Article image
New band of the day – Gross Magic (No 1,045)
Sam McGarrigle feeds his favourite 80s tunes through an Ariel Pink filter to create an ultra-vivid dream of perfect pop

Paul Lester

16, Jun, 2011 @4:23 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 982: Grimes
This Canadian artist's outer-limits pop is ethereal and electronic but always accessible – even at its most atonal

Paul Lester

09, Mar, 2011 @5:43 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 1,041: Light Asylum
Shannon Funchess, a cyborg soul girl in the manner of Grace Jones, presides over this forbidding gothtronica

Paul Lester

10, Jun, 2011 @4:47 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 941: Beat Connection
This Seattle band sound positively jaunty. We know nothing jaunty has ever been good, but somehow this is

Paul Lester

07, Jan, 2011 @5:18 PM

Article image
New band of the day: Jungle (No 1,536)

Unknowns create mesmeric urban-tribal music with potentially viral video

Paul Lester

19, Jun, 2013 @2:21 PM

Article image
New band of the day: September 2010 playlist

Enjoy reading Paul Lester's daily new band tips? Then why not listen to the musicians he's raving about

Paul Lester

30, Sep, 2010 @1:44 PM

Article image
New band of the day: Lulu James (No 1,461)

She's the new diva of electronic soul. Warning: comes with a studio partner called Domzilla

Paul Lester

27, Feb, 2013 @4:57 PM