Citay makes a joyous return on Dream Get Together, the San Francisco cosmic wanderers’ expansive third full-length album. Many of the touchstones from Citay’s previous work remain intact – flourishes of Led Zeppelin, Eno/Fripp, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd, Popul Vuh and ELO can be heard throughout – but a newfound swagger pushes Dream Get Together way over the top. Seldom has there been a more obvious choice for an album opener than “Careful With That Hat,” a song propelled by a deep groove and swing that practically begs the listener to stand up and air-drum wildly. The vocals soar, the lead guitars catch fire and the mammoth solo (courtesy of guitarist Josh Pollock) builds to an ecstatic explosion. One highlight of Dream Get Together is “Mirror Kisses,” a song Feinberg wrote specifically for guest vocalist Merrill Garbus (of Tune-Yards) to sing in three-part harmony with Harbour and Press of Citay. With the soaring Ebow guitars and vocal harmonies, “Mirror Kisses” is Citay at its most lush and melodic. In contrast, “Hunter” is Citay at its most excessive – a triumphant instrumental anthem that somehow bridges the gap between Klaus Schulze and The Scorpions. This is the shot across the bow. Citay have arrived on Dream Get Together.
This was unexpected. Citay’s 2007 album Little Kingdom made reference to everything from Thin Lizzy and acoustic Led Zeppelin, to Popul Vuh and early Mike Oldfield. So, when the band started asking remixers to rework tracks from Little Kingdom, we were more than a little surprised. As it turns out, the world needs Citay’s Remixes. From the ambient textures of White Rainbows’ “Eye on Dollar” remix to Cornershop’s Anthony Saffery adding sitar and percussion to “First Fantasy,” these are anything but typical remix rave-ups. These Are Powers’ Brenmar (aka Bill Salas) gives “Moonburn” a playful, skittering treatment, while Black Mountains’ Steve McBeam adds his effected vocals to “Former Child” – the end result sounding more like Metallica than like Aphex Twin.
Welcome to Citay’s Little Kingdom. It’s an otherworldly place, full of psychedelic swirl, soaring harmonies and grandiose jams. Little Kingdom is the second album from San Francisco’s Citay. It’s an epic journey, and an album that sounds out of place in 2007 – a classic in the purest sense. Like Citay’s 2006 self-titled debut, the ‘70s rock sensibility is intact; Thin Lizzy, acoustic Led Zeppelin, Big Star and the Byrds all remain touchstones. But Little Kingdom moves further into ambitious composition, referencing Popul Vuh, Animals-era Pink Floyd, the Fripp-Eno collaborations, and early Mike Oldfield. The twin leads are still huge, the ballads still sweet, but Citay is reaching for more on Little Kingdom. Little Kingdom is lush and beautiful; a grand, epic work that harkens back to day when studio excess was encouraged and a premium was placed on composition. To borrow a line from Arthur’s review of Citay’s debut, “this is an album without a sell-by date, with a song for every season.”