Seemingly overnight, Cigarettes After Sex went from floating around the edges of the Internet as a dorm room solo project to an online sensation, racking up 50 million views on YouTube for ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’.
Starting as an experiment recorded in a stairwell while singer Greg Gonzalez was studying at the University of Texas at El Paso, the band bring together beautifully androgynous vocals and touching lyrics while still managing to sound unique.
This eponymous debut has an almost ethereal quality, bringing love songs and ambience together in one dreamy swoop — the perfect backdrop to intimacy, whether post-sex or otherwise.
At 47 minutes, it seems lengthy, but any fears of the album being repetitive filler are quickly quashed. From the hushed opening twang of ‘K.’, to the calming synths of ‘Each Time You Fall In Love’ and the expansive, shoegazey single ‘Apocalypse’, this is a beautifully atmospheric and soothing piece of work.
Despite the still occasionally underdeveloped, teenage diary-like lyrics, there are glimpses of more comedic moments amongst the angst — “I know full well that you are the patron saint of sucking cock” perhaps being most memorable — as well as “You open your dress and show me your tits / On the swing set at the old playground”. But like their first two EPs, this is music for being woefully besotted, a universal feeling of love and lust mired by sadness.
Gonzalez’s dreamy vocals echo amongst melodic guitars and delicate percussion, with odes to lovers past, present and future worn on this album’s sleeve. Everyone has had a ‘Kristen’, and that’s what makes it album so enthralling — they’re more than just love songs, they’re intricate explorations of how and why we fall in and out of romances.
Words: Megan White
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