The term hipster carries a lot of baggage these days, some good and some bad, depending on how the term is being used. However, at it’s best, hipster rock has the potential to infuse strong doses of much-needed originality and artistry into what can often be a paint-by-the-numbers Christian music industry. Seattle’s Citizens marks Mars Hill Music’s first venture into the world of full-length projects with their self-titled debut, and it’s outside of the box from moment one.
Led by Zach Bolen, Citizens aims to build bridges with a developing culture looking to fully engage worship, not passively observe it. Shades of modern rock sounds resembling acts as diverse as The Killers, Kings of Leon, and Snow Patrol pop up, but this certainly isn’t derivative stuff. Especially engaging is the take on classic hymns that repeatedly draws the worshipers into action—there’s a raw energy and clear passion that doesn’t offer the option of sitting on the sidelines.