I’ve always been very defensive of the eighties as a musical decade; it represents my formative years, my musical education and as such shaped my tastes, attitudes and my very being. It’s why I get riled over the frequent re-writing of history to portray it as a time of throwaway pop and style over substance that really only existed in the pages of Smash Hits. Yes, there was some of that going on but there were also people stood in fields, wearing Coal Not Dole T-shirts listening to Killing Joke…people like me.
And although there are elements of Audio Citizen’s music that plays to the redacted retro-pop gallery, a lot of it is built through some rather excellent decisions. I’d say that whilst sifting through the building blocks they used to build their music, they made some very sound choices in their sound choices. Such as the angular Talking Heads structures on which they hang pre-chart dominance, New Romantic electronic strands or the lush, and subversive yet pop aligned vocal treatments and flattened, unflashy tribal beats.
This is a version of the 80’s that didn’t quite exist but had it done it would have fitted right in, an alternative possibility that would have happened if Sheffield had been a suburb of New York. And for all it’s backward glances it still manages to be moving forward, part of the here and now rather than the rose-tinted retro brigade. And for those too young to remember things first time around Audio Citizen give you the chance to experience some of the cooler musical aspects of the decade and this time around there isn’t a leg warmer or shoulder pad in sight.