In the world of music, the term “fusion” tends to raise eyebrows. Yet, the sonic explorers of Seattle octuplet Cytrus have spent the last three years crafting a debut that draws deftly from a broad melodic palette, melding distinct stylistic threads into a cohesive creative voice. Relax, and the grooves will flow through your soul. Concentrate, and you’ll find yourself tumbling through an immaculately constructed alternate reality when melody and rhythm dance hand in hand through spacetime.
Shaped by Jared Squires (guitar/vocals), Luke Nevills (bass/keys), Brandon Hailey (saxophone), Owen Mayo (keys/guitar), Trevor Church (drums), Alex Dean (synth/keys), Sean Connelly (vocals/keys), and Connor Merritt (aux percussion), Cytrus mines psychedelic funk, disco, electronic, rock, soul, hip-hop. Flowing through kaleidoscopic transitions, the band’s juicy synths and brass-powered grooves coalesce into an undeniable, hypnotic wall of sound.
Cytrus began when two Everett, WA bands found themselves mixing in the same shared rehearsal space. Finding they shared an ethos and approach to songcraft, Bunk Foss & HopSol merged, and Cytrus was born. The songs on Concentrate arose organically; some grew from sketches crafted by subgroups with the band where were then expanded upon in a full band setting. Others began as purely improvised sessions with the full octet which were later arranged. Yet all ultimately come from the conflux of individuality and collaboration.
Independently recorded at their rehearsal space, and mixed and mastered in-house, Concentrate is in every sense D.I.Y. In addition to the core group, the record features appearances byJason Cressey (trombone), Shyam Sunder Joseph Raja (tablas), and Connor Merritt (didgeridoo). After recording Concentrate, Merritt has joined the band full time as auxiliary percussion player.
Thematically, the record charts the philosophical, emotional journey from darkness to light. Starting from blissful ignorance, we then grapple with a sense of irrelevance when faced with the enormity of reality. Undeterred, we vow to pursue the search for truth and purpose. Finally, at the nexus of spirituality and psychedelics, we find awakening. “Concentrate is a metaphor of the pursuit of happiness/fulfillment, which we all seek in our personal stories of life” explains Squires. “The “Juice” can be found at the end of that path, but many obstacles can and will stand in the way.”
Ultimately, Concentrate is both the culmination of a creative and spiritual journey and the first step on the long road to musical enlightenment. For a young (figuratively and literally) band to create a piece of art of the depth and breadth of Concentrate betrays both boundless dedication and ambition. Yet, the band comes to their work from a place of humility. “We hope this album inspires likeminded creatives to chase their aspirations in the arts” says Squires. “Be it a desire to draw from past bodies of work we admire, or a yearning contribute to the canon, it is all attainable through persistence and creativity.”