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Citizens Here and Abroad

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Drawing on influences (direct or indirect) that range from Suzanne Vega and the Cocteau Twins to Lush and Madder Rose, Citizens Here and Abroad are a moody, dreamy alternative pop/rock band from San Francisco. Much of their shoegazer identity comes from the lead vocals of Adrienne Robillard, who contributes rhythm guitar and favors a vocal style that is as deadpan as it is girlish. Bassist Chris Groves provides backing harmony vocals for Citizens Here and Abroad, but Robillard is their main vocalist. Stylistically, Robillard's singing is the exact opposite of an aggressive, big-voiced belter like Melissa Etheridge (just to give one example), and her hushed, subtle, understated approach is quite appropriate for Citizens Here and Abroad's spacy moodiness. Like Shallow, the Cardigans, the Cocteau Twins, and early Lush, Citizens Here and Abroad are relevant to the dream pop or shoegazer style. But unlike the Cardigans, they aren't hooky; Citizens Here and Abroad are melodic in an angular, cerebral, abstract way and often avoid the standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus song structure. And the Lush that they inspire comparisons to is the Lush of the late '80s and early '90s -- not the more rockin' and extroverted Lush that gave themselves a power pop makeover with 1995's Lovelife and the infectious U.K. hit "Ladykillers." Citizens Here and Abroad formed in San Francisco in 2002, when Robillard and Groves teamed up with Dan Lowrie (lead guitar) and Chris Wetherell (drums). In 2003, they recorded their debut album, Ghosts of Tables and Chairs, which was released by the Sacramento, CA-based Omnibus label in early 2004. Their follow-up, Waving, Not Drowning, appeared in the fall of 2006. ~ Alex Henderson