Interview with Electric Citizen vocalist Laura Dolan | By Thomas Pizzola | Photo by Gregory Bojorquez

Cincinnati riff-rockers Electric Citizen felt no pressure when it came time to record the follow-up to their well-received 2014 debut, Sateen. “When we recorded the first album, we had no idea it would catch on,” vocalist Laura Dolan says. “We were just having fun; we made it for ourselves. I would hate to say we felt pressure this time, we try not to overthink these things. What becomes of the music you make if you aren’t enjoying making it?”

In fact, the band—which also features guitarist Ross Dolan, bassist Randy Proctor, and drummer Nate Wagner—wrote the new album, Higher Time, the same way they wrote the first one. “We have a pretty consistent formula for songwriting. Ross writes the music, I write the lyrics and melody,” Dolan explains. “We don’t write on tour, and we tour a lot, so we have to stay busy doing it when we’re home. I think the secret to songwriting is having the ability to critique yourself and each other. Egos get in the way; if it sucks, scrap it, and keep creating.”

This approach to songwriting has resulted in another ripper of an album, as Higher Time—released on May 13 on RidingEasy Records—takes their sound in a new direction, while still retaining the essence of Electric Citizen. “The second album has more of a straight rock ‘n’ roll vibe, but it’s still dark and heavy,” Dolan says. “We don’t subscribe to a specific subgenre. Much like opinions, once you have them, you are limited by them. The mix on this album is quite different; we wanted more thump, and I think we got that. We recorded both albums to analog tape, but the second has many more layers than the first.”

Higher Time’s title has a special meaning to Dolan. While it’s not about indulging in certain substances, it might have a little connection to the title of a certain MC5 album from back in the day. “I didn’t mean for it to be a play on the MC5’s second album High Time,” she says, “but when that dawned on me, I was really happy about it. They are one of my favorite bands. It’s easy to look at the title and think ‘stoners,’ and that’s all right by us, but the title track was actually written about living at a higher frequency, something I think the whole world could use right now.”

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