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Mat Kerekes – ‘Ruby’ Album Review

3/5 Citizen Frontman releases highly anticipated 2nd solo offering.

The release of ‘Ruby’ (out now via Black Cement Records) marks the release of Mat Kerekes’ second solo album, the follow-up to ‘Luna & the Wild Blue Everything’ debuting in 2016. The vocalist from the Post Hardcore / Emo band, ‘Citizen’, is definitely staying true to his emo roots with this album.

The album is the height of Emo-Folk-Pop. Like many vocalists from a group within this music-sphere, we see Mat jumping on the solo-train and in his spare time and embarking on a promising solo career highly anticipated by fans of Citizen.

This album may not be quite what you’d expect from the Post Hardcore singer. With artists like John Floreani of Trophy Eyes releasing albums in a similar but mediocre vain, I’d say that ‘Ruby’ has got that little bit extra to be a top album within this genre as it offers something more than most  others within it (you usually know what you’re getting with emo pop).

Opening song and title track ‘Ruby’, starting off as a pretty standard emo pop anthem maintaining that light-hearted and uplifting sound – perfect to be the lead single. Track two ‘Diamonds’ and the second single, leads the listener into what the album is all about, catchy lyrics, simple yet impressive instrumentation, with brass sections in the track. Diamonds will definitely be hit with radio stations across America.

By track four, we’ve already had a few cross-genre tracks, and this one continues to show the albums diversity, slowing the pace right down as these next couple of tracks appear more singer-songwriter inspired.

The 3rd from last track. ‘Spider Silk’ rounds up the album nicely lifting up that tempo again, including hints of influences from a more indie sound as well as modern American pop-punk vibes, (Reminded me a bit of a tame, All American Rejects track in parts). Throughout the album is layered with emotions and an essence of true singer-songwriter influences especially in tracks like ‘Hawthorne’ and ‘One For The Wilderness’. There is a bit of a modern pop twist resonating throughout this album, with tracks like ‘Diamonds’ verging on the commercial singer-songwriter type with his vocal melodies. At the end of the day, the lyrics stay true to Mat’s emo pop roots, but keeping things light-hearted with his impressive instrumentation and subtle catchy choruses. This body of work will see Mat potentially branch out to different fan bases with this well-produced, cross-genre album.  

With only 10 years under Citizen’s belt, it may seem a tad pre-emptive for Mat to be turning his main focus away from the band. Could this affect the longevity and productivity of the bands career? Not with their work ethic! – Having already played shows in Canada, Australia and Japan in 2019, Citizens are gearing up for a US tour starting 10th May – 15th June with Knuckle Puck and Hunny & OSO OSO as tour support. It’s safe to say that Citizen are showing no signs of slowing down regardless of Mat taking the time to release his 2nd solo album.

I would definitely say that the album is overall very radio friendly and we are likely to see the feature tracks being added to major playlists, gaining plays on US radio stations and potential sync opportunities, including a couple of the later tracks on the album. The album is a pleasant listen even for those not fans of the genre, but for those who are fans, get tuned in cause you’re in for a treat.

For Fans Of – Boyce Avenue, Citizen, Mayday Parade, Moose Blood, Ed Sheeran, Passenger.

Photo credit: Ryland Oehlers

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