When I first saw that Mat Kerekes (vocalist of Citizen) was releasing a solo album, I was pretty stoked.  I enjoyed his 2014 self-titled three song EP so I had high expectations for the new stuff.

The record’s three singles certainly did not let me down. To hear aggression in Kerekes’ voice on the title track, “The Clubs / The People’s Attention,” on an acoustic solo album was a pleasant surprise and wet my palette for what was to come.  “My Lucky 3” is an enjoyable tune which has grown on me over time but didn’t immediately stand out to me the way the first single did. However, it was “Direction” which completely blew me away. I’m not one to listen to songs multiple times in a row, but this song was on repeat several times throughout the day (and the corresponding week for that matter!)  The guest vocals from Anthony Green (Circa Survive, Saosin) were irresistibly catchy and fit in beautifully, despite the lyrical darkness conveyed.

“I could be anything that you wanted. I wouldn’t mind if you handed me a loaded gun. Crack a smile while I turn the safety off. I’ll destroy anything that you want me to. Help me try and understand what you’re going through. Crack the door as you turn yourself away.”

When the full album was finally released, however, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I originally would.  I gave it a couple of listens but still, it just wasn’t sticking. This was quite depressing as I had such lofty hopes for the album and was planning on making this the first article I wrote upon my return from South America. But I just didn’t think it merited to be touched at all.

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Time has a funny way of changing people’s opinions. Out of lack of anything else new and intriguing to listen to, I decided to try this album again.  Not expecting much, I just left it playing in the background as I did work on the computer and attempted to better organize my room following a recent move.  It was during these moments that parts of the album began to stand out to me. I soon found myself thoroughly enjoying the work as a whole, thus providing proof that anything worth loving takes time.

Recorded in a span of two weeks with the help of Will Yip, the album trades off between moments of melancholy and upbeat reflection.  The lyrical theme of the album derives from Kerekes realization that, “People, things and feelings change as you get older.”

And I guess that’s true.  In a span of three weeks I went from being disappointed by the record to enjoying it to the point where I had no choice but to write about it.

Giving it a 6/10 for Exclaim!, Adam Feibel said: “He has a distinctive and fitting voice for his genre. He’s an intimate and evocative lyricist and he’s great at setting a mood. Citizen remains Kerekes’ more exciting enterprise, but he has plenty of potential on his own.”

Someone writing under the rad pseudonym of ‘Dissonance’ for Sound Fiction gave the record an 8/10, a score which I identify with much more. They stated: “With his debut album, Mat Kerekes proves that he not only has the chops to create music that is wholly his own, but has the ability to stand out in the solo field, writing music that is vastly different from what he’s currently best known for.”

This album definitely is making my “Best of 2016” list and if you’re a fan of emotive, relaxing, heart-on-your-sleeve songs then it should make yours too.

I encourage you to check it out below!