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Adrian Borland used to be the songwriter, main vocalist and guitarist in legendary UK band The Sound, who split in early 1988. While his former bandmates discontinued their musical careers, Borland moved to the Netherlands in 1998 in order to found a new band, after initially going there on holiday and to meet his manager (Rob Acda). Adrian Borland and The Citizens was formed there, taking advantage of the popularity of The Sound on the continent, and the relative inexpense of venues in the Low Countries.

In 1989 Adrian Borland and The Citizens released Alexandria, a huge departure musically from The Sound's final album Thunder Up and featuring four backing vocalists, bass, cello, clarinet, drums and kettle drums, piano, saxophone, harmonica, tambourine, viola, violin and guitar. Some continuity was provided by former Sound bandmate Colin 'Max' Mayers collaborating by reprising his role of keyboardist, while Nick Robbins engineered and co-produced the album with Borland. The album featured much calmer, lighter tracks than those on Thunder Up, such as "Light The Sky" and "Rogue Beauty". Some tracks deal with Borland's own precarious emotional state, such as "No Ethereal" and "Deep Deep Blue". The album, however, suffered from poor sales, selling an estimated 10,000 copies on the continent and a mere 1000 in England. Borland attributed this to poor distribution.

1992 saw the release of Brittle Heaven, which would later lend its name to the (now official) Adrian Borland website. With a menagerie of 14 songs with little difference in style to those of his previous release, the real difference now lay in the composition of the Citizens, which was by now almost exclusively Dutch. Don Victor co-produced the album with Borland. Although Allmusic described it as 'one hour of finely woven tapestry, of gorgeous music' and proclaimed it to be 'Not quite as good as 1989's Alexandria', both albums shared three stars out of five. The album benefits from lavish investment in production, although this puts it in a similar position to The Sound's Heads & Hearts album in that it is much more polished than Borland's other solo material. Critical reception ranged from the noncomittal to welcoming; David Cavanagh spoke of 'a strange, dizzy optimism' pervading the album, which he gave 4 stars. A 3 star review provided by Dave Morrison argued ' reflective writing remains as good as ever'. The Big Takeover went further, proclaiming it 'inspired'.

Following these two albums, Adrian Borland continued to release a further 3 albums under is own name, without the Citizens moniker. He died on 26 April 1999.

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