If one thing can be said for certain about a current four-piece ambient-pop band from Texas, Cigarettes After Sex, it is that they are consistent: low resolution-looking black covers with minimalistic images; the slow, sensual rhythms; the deep, androgynous and absolutely stunning voice of their founder and frontman Greg Gonzalez; the melancholically pop lyrics.
The band, mostly known for a track ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ from their debut EP I. released in 2012, sounds exactly like one would expect. In fact, the uniformity of the experience a listener receives is another key feature of the group, as the title is responsible for the effect just as much as the sounds of echoing guitar or the black nudity of their covers.
The debut album under the same title, Cigarettes After Sex, released on the 9th of June this year does not disappoint any of these expectations.
From the very first strokes of an electric guitar and its high frequency electric glitches, a listener is taken to a 47 minute long state of dream noir without apparent borders of tracks or instrumentation. This might be an issue, as uniformity risks turning into monotony, yet in the case of Cigarettes After Sex loyalty for their style is nothing else but a continuous celebration of the sound, the voice that the band has found and perfected. It is in fact the brilliant vocals that guide through that induced light dampness of longing and nostalgia, and that make sure that the time at which one song ends and another starts simply would not matter.
Alex Petridis from ‘The Guardian’ points out the main issue of the album being its lyrics. Indeed, the second verse of ‘Opera House’, “And I can still hear the sound of you crying through the night; There in the opera house with no one else for miles” illustrates his point accurately – it is often a weird combination of cheesy and creepy. However, agreeing with the critic, all the words dissolve into the gorgeous melodies; and what the listener is left with is the dream-like feeling that lingers for a while.
IMAGE: Krists Luhaers, Flickr