If you listen to Octane on SiriusXM, you’re no stranger to Citizen Zero. Their first single “Go (Let Me Save You)” off the upcoming State of Mind is on regular rotation. Detroit rockers Josh LeMay (vocals), Sammy Boller (lead guitar), John Dudley (drums) and Sam Collins (bass) have penned a genuine, feel-good offering. It’s an end-of-summer record of top-down, sing-along anthems that stick with you, begging to be shuffled and repeated ad infinitum. This collective of talented musicians have orchestrated a sound that is solidly rock without gimmicks, that feels familiar and comfortable, yet still refreshingly unique. In a sea of same, Citizen Zero succeeds in standing out by doing nothing more than producing great music.
The first track, “What a Feeling,” features a catchy intro and serves as an introduction to LeMay’s soaring vocals, with a range and reach that produces all the feels. He delivers honestly, and with an intense gritty break in his higher register that elevates those damn good lyrics. LeMay maintains his vocal purity throughout State of Mind, especially their second single “Lure & Persuade,” as well as “Applause & Fame,” and my favorite song on this CD, “Love Let It.” This song exemplifies everything I love about Citizen Zero. It is lyrically, vocally, and melodically cohesive and sublime. Says LeMay,
“It’s the most personal to me. When things were really bad, the song was a way to convince ourselves to let our love for what we do overcome everything else. I ended up tattooing ‘Fight to Love’ on myself because everything was a fight to maintain this dream. We thought it would be unacceptable to give up.”
While Citizen Zero describes their sound as a blend of grunge a la Stone Temple Pilots, and bluesy-alt rock in the style of Kings of Leon, it’s in this song, as well as “Come Away” that I most hear influences of Daughtery, Don Henley, and even a little Mr. Mister.
“State of Mind,” “When The Rain Comes,” and “Banging in the Nails” highlight Boller’s straight-up licks tugging at the driving rhythm section of Dudley and Collins. Together, they create a solid wall of sound with all those delicious riffs and leads dancing seamlessly in and out of the melody. Pair that with hooks that go on for days, and you have an unforgettable CD to add to your collection.
State of Mind delivers rock fans an honest collection of well-crafted, catchy songs. Says LeMay, “I think the best music comes from the most honest place. Being from Detroit, there’s a no fly zone for bullshit. You have to be real, or the people will know. State of Mind is one-hundred percent who we are.”