Preview: Citizens!, Electric Circus

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IT’S fair to say that indie upstarts Citizens! got a leg up on the career ladder when Alex Kapranos agreed to produce their debut album.

It also doesn’t harm them any that the Franz Ferdinand man continually heaps praise on them during interviews.

“There are only three or four bands a decade that really matter,” the singer said recently. “Citizens! sound like one of them to me.

“They do something you haven’t heard before, yet you feel they’ve always been in your life.

“They sound fresh because they aren’t followers - they have the balls to do something new and, f*** me, it sounds good.”

That’s no faint praise from a man who has written some of the catchiest tunes of recent years – and Kapranos’ influence is all over the band’s debut album, Here We Are.

Like their producer, the young band seem intent on showing us that pop is not a dirty word.

“We think the pop song format is one of the most wonderful inventions, but whoever comes to it needs to bring individuality,” says singer Tom Burke, whose band are in action at Electric Circus tonight.

Citizens! say that working with Kapranos on the album was both a pleasure and a privilege.

“He’s a really enthusiastic guy,” says Burke. “He shared our vision for the album.

“If you’re making poppy songs, people just seem to see dollar signs. Whereas Alex had this very non-cynical way of looking at it.”

Asked about the exclamation mark on the end of their name and Burke says that it’s simply cooler with it than without.

“It’s kind of like a shout out,” he says, “like a headline on a newspaper.

“We had three criteria. One, it had to be a powerful word. Secondly, it had to look good on a poster or when you see it on Glastonbury headliners. And thirdly, it certainly had to be as difficult as possible to find on Google.”

Citizens!, Electric Circus, Market Street, tonight, 7pm, £8, 0131-226 4224