By Nathan Pavolko
It’s that time of year: the sun is peaking out from the clouds and the birds are coming back. We all dig ourselves out of that temporary seclusion from the world after winter, hopefully with a good outlook toward the future. Many of us may not have that pep in our step right out the gates, but thankfully we have a bunch of great music coming out this year to give us that kick in the keister. Among that bunch is Telethon’s latest album Citrosis, a spontaneous 90s-fueled power-pop album that’s sure to get you on your feet and moving. The mixture of their power-pop and punk sound serves up a fun 32-minute thrill-ride just in time for a spring road trip.
Only rehearsing once the night before, the band took to the studio, and within a blazing five days came out with the relentless lightning rod of energy that is Citrosis. That being said, the album is surprisingly tight and well put together for how little time they spent on it. Those guys must have felt some really great vibes writing and recording the songs, because they ran with it. The sophomore album was recorded by Jack Shirley who has worked with bands such as Deafheaven, Big Kids, Joyce Manor, and Laura Stevenson. Shirley’s production on this record is brilliant; the addition of the near-gapless playback truly brings the excitement of the band to life. This makes it feel like you’re hearing the band play a live show, charging through song after song, giving you no time to clap in-between.
The songs almost bleed onto each other, like the clever transition from songs “Blizzard” into “Bloodwork”. The first ends with the band hammering out some chords with pounding drums finishing the last chorus. Then, there is a slight change of rhythm with the welcomed addition of a vintage Hammond organ, and without even realizing it you’re already in the next song. The lyrics and word play are a big stand-out role for the album, keeping the pace up with the music while maintaining an enormous amount of honesty and playfulness. Telethon touch on the kind of struggles and frustrations you typically discover coming into your adult life. Like in the song “A Funny Thing Happened To Me Today”, vocalist-guitarist Kevin Tully sings with a tongue-in-cheek sarcasm “Googled something within a matter of avenues and I cursed the day I was ever born // But that’s just me // I make it hard on myself // unnecessarily // Or so it seemed”. Tully delivers each lyric in a laid back tangent with a great sense of humor, similar to The Presidents of the United States of America or Modern Baseball.
Citrosis takes to heart the Buddy Holly pop song mentality, keeping most of their tracks to a short but sweet two-to-three minutes. I really enjoy this because many rock bands are getting a bit self-indulgent, closing a song at the four-to-six minute mark. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little kernel of an idea that is introduced then intentionally left unexplored, to leave you as a listener up to interpretation. There are three of these tracks scattered throughout the LP, used as transitions to build into the next track. Yet tracks like “Bloodwork” with its heartbeat rhythm and climbing guitar riffs and "Dread," an instrumental surf-rock song that channels Dick Dale, are some of my favorites on the album and they end within one or two minutes.
The sophomore LP brings a lot of energy and excitement to the plate, with its angular guitar riffs and sweet piano/organ lines; it’s clear there is a lot of heart behind this music. However I feel that it’s a safe album, it seems like the band isn’t stepping out of their comfort zone, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a strong album the whole way through, playing to their strengths. I personally just love to see bands be adventurous and break their own boundaries. Citrosis was an incredibly fun listen, with its witty lyrics and over caffeinated pop-punk music. It will definitely get you out of your winter hibernation.