ALBUM REVIEW: Cigarettes After Sex – ‘Cigarettes After Sex’

Finally. The long anticipated self-titled album from our beloved tear-jerking Texans, Cigarettes After Sex, is to be released on 9th June 2017.

Dropped straight into the deep end, the velvety sounds of ‘K’ creep and swell as an ambient introduction to the record. The stream-of-consciousness delivery works well to launch the ride we secretly knew (and hoped) this album would be, similar to what we’ve heard before whilst delivering a punch to the gut with so much more attentiveness and delicacy.

Frontman and creator Greg Gonzalez delivers a hectic second track (‘Each Time You Fall In Love’), a track that encourages an unsure state, almost like a feeling of nervousness but maybe it’s meant to reflect what it feels like each time we fall in love. A delay in the vocals really adds to the whole scattiness of anxiety within the track, whilst the music retains an element of certainty. ‘Sunsetz’ brings us back down to earth and takes us for a romantic walk down the beach (the third in this ten track ambient splendour), unfortunately sounding a little too similar to the beginning of the next track, ‘Apocalypse’, a unfortunate misstep with the tracklisting is more to blame here. 

Synths begin to fill the air when we’re exposed to the ‘Flash’ of wanting to ‘do the right thing’, as a listener we can’t help but be drawn to the magnificently poignant lyricism that this track bares: “When they crash, the helicopters in my heart erupt,” it’s clear to hear that someone or something has affected Gonzalez immensely, although it’s unclear as to what or who or why.

‘Sweet’ is exactly that, sweet and lyrically cute, consistent with Gonzalez’s penchant for writing love songs – it’s surprising because normally I listen to love songs and just yawn at the generics of it all, I’ve heard it all before – but the detail described of the person(s) Gonzalez sings about feels so effortlessly conversational, almost like a diary. A shimmering knife-like stream fills my head with ‘Opera House’, soon abruptly interrupted by Gonzalez’s A cappella segment to emphasise the lyrics, followed by halting on and off bass lines of Randy Miller, jangled up guitars of Phillip Tubbs, and dazed, steady drums of Jacob Tomsky. The simple consistency of the instrumentation allows Gonzalez to deliver his heart-wrenching words in complete onus.

Let’s slow dance to ‘Truly’, it seems appropriate, now more than ever, we’re at the crescendo of a lovely evening. Sumptuous in its lyrical form, lifting the tactile senses within the chorus to make its listener feel numbingly peaceful: “Truly, know that you really don’t need, to be in love to make love to me.” 

As suddenly as we were enthralled by the sway of ‘Truly’, that lovely feeling is taken away with the awakening of “John Wayne”. The anxiety that we all know (and fear) kicks in when we realise that someone may be edging in to steal the one we’re dancing with, a truly beautiful piece of music in every way but not a feeling I want to relive again, bravo for making that even remotely possible. I won’t forgive the reaction, after all it reminds us how ‘Young & Dumb’ we were. The unapologetic finale continues to thread weighty revelations to the overarching storyline of the record, from longing, to mischievousness, and sour after-tastes – it’s certainly a powerful move to end with. 

A fitting end to such a great album. I will admit, I was disappointed that ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ didn’t feature on the album, but, I got to hear something new, incredibly congruent, and a body of work which I’m positive the band will be proud of.

Thank you Cigarettes After Sex for creating the perfect late-night listening album.

The debut album from Cigarettes After Sex will be released on 9th June 2017 via Partisan Records. Pre-order exclusive bundles and packages here.

For more information on Cigarettes After Sex, visit the Website.

Jacob Shoobridge-Chandler
Musician, Songwriter, Graphic Designer and general Creative blob.

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