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Citizen K

Second Thoughts

Review by Gary Hill

This is a retro review of a disc from Citizen K. I reviewed the act's newest disc recently, making it a good idea to have a look at this double disc set. It would be easy to overlook this as not progressive rock because it has a lot of mainstream rock music at its core. Missing the prog elements, though, is a mistake. This has a lot in common with the more AOR prog of acts like Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons along with plenty of Beatles elements.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
             
Mindexpander Parts 1 & 2

There are some subtle, mellow textures at the start of that. Acoustic guitar joins after a time, and the cut starts to build outward with a real psychedelic rock vibe. It makes me think of a cross between The Beatles and early Pink Floyd.

Song of Adjustment
More of a rocker, this has plenty of that proggy psychedelic element at play, too.
Siamese Twinkle Star
This interlude is only a little over half-a-minute long. It feels a bit like music box melodies, but some more symphonic treatments.
Train of No Forgiveness
I can make out hints of Chris Squire on the vocals here. With a real folk prog meets psychedelia texture, this number is so classy. I dig the expressive guitar soloing further down the road, and the cut gets powered up nicely later, too.
She Will Probably Tell You
Faster paced, this is full progressive rock. Sure, it has a lot of pop and psychedelia in the mix, but this has as much in common with things like Yes and Genesis as it does with The Beatles. It's a fun number, and also a very meaty one. It has some Beach Boys like vocals at times.
And Now, Let’s Turn The Page, Said The King
This is just about half-a-minute long. It's a mellow musical interlude that is pretty and a bit classical in nature.
King Of Second Thoughts
This seems to come right out of the previous tune. It's melodic, folk rock based and at times soaring. It's catchy and quite pretty.
Hang On To Your Sanity
Here is a mainstream rocker. I can hear some hints of Squire on the vocals again here. This is not the proggiest thing here, but it works well. I dig the guitar fills, and the whole rocking groove.
Remembering Helena
Just a bit under a minute in length, this is a pretty and poignant piano solo.
Floor Thirteen
Another melodic piece, this has plenty of progressive rock in the mix. I suppose that more than anything else it's a pop rock tune, but it has definite elements of things like Alan Parsons in the mix. I really dig the guitar soloing later in the piece.
Empty Chair
Psychedelia, folk rock and more merge on this classy and quite catchy number.
Just Once More (Second Hand Opinion)
Energetic and intriguing, this number is solid, but not one of the better pieces here. It does have some cool guitar fills, though. Some of those guitar lines later even bring country elements to the proceedings.
Disc 2
 
In Holland
Starting on piano, this cut grows outward from there. After a minute it shifts toward more of a melodic, retro textured rocker with folk rock and psychedelia in the mix. It gets really powerful and rocking a minute later with Beatles and Alan Parsons elements driving it.
Wasps & Cars
At over nine-and-a-half minutes of music, this is an epic type number. Acoustic guitar based rock opens this. That holds it for a time. Other instruments join before the one minute mark. We're in a cool psychedelic prog zone as it continues. It builds out to around the three-and-a-half-minute mark. Then the sound of a crash abruptly transforms it. A person screaming can be heard amongst symphonic elements. Eventually a new musical element comes in with vocals that seem to be backtracked. There are both male and female voices. The piece works through a number of unusual changes and movements as it continues. Before the eight-minute mark, though, we've been brought back into the song proper to continue. This is a killer melodic rock movement. It has some great guitar soloing over the top, too.
Dutch Coffee

This is a short piece with just a tapping percussive element backing the wall of non-lyrical vocals at first. Some guitar rises up as it works outward. Then it turns just instrumental.

So This Is Life (I Didn’t Know)
This melodic prog rocker features both male and female vocals. There is a killer scat singing section. We get plenty of jazz along with prog and pop music here. It's a dynamic and powerful piece, while still remaining reasonably mellow.
When Birds Fly South
I love the dense vocal arrangement on this tune. It's another with a lot of folk rock built into it.
Something Truly Magic
Another folk rock based piece, this is less prog and more pop rock than some of the others. Harmonica adds to that folk rock leaning.
I Think You’ve Been Cheated Too
There is a real modern prog vibe to the earlier section here. It's a bit quirky, but also quite cool. The cut rocks out from there with a killer grind. Some of that Beatles meets Parsons element emerges further down the road. There is a real classic and timeless edge to this thing.
Rest Your Head

Psychedelic and proggy, this has both Beatles and Pink Floyd elements at play, along with quite a bit of other sound.

(This Is) Our Town
Another bouncy pop rock styled musical concept is at the heart of this, but the song is more complex than that would indicate.
The Band In The Attic
Pink Floyd is a valid reference point in some ways. So, is early Genesis and, of course, the ever present Beatles. There is a great range between the mellower, more folky movements and the more rocking resolutions. This is a dynamic and powerful cut that works well.
Citizen K’s Dream
A melodic prog groove is on the menu here. This has a real folk prog meets psychedelia kind of thing. There is a dreamy quality that suits the title. It's a classy tune that has a real timeless feeling to it. The instrumental section that takes the song at the end has some guitar that sounds backtracked.
 
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