"When I was sixteen, I dated a boy with my own name. It was weird in the back of his truck, moaning my own name whilst trying to fuck.' Alex meet Alex, riff maven and wordsmith of New York pairing, Diet Cig. It's a truck-based teen moment that is so seemingly intimate, yet so familiar. You find yourself wholly absorbed as drummer Noah Bowman's beat kicks in, and you're swept back to your days feeling outcast on the playground.
It's a punchy opener for a band who wooed us way back with their debut EP of dinner dates and pillow talk, but it's common ground; relatable social moments that loiter through this duo's clattering dance punk dynamics. 'Blob Zombie' has the gang spirit of twee popstrels Los Campesinos, all gross ambition tied up in relentless exhaustion (we can all relate, right?). It sits expertly back-to-back with 'Road Trip,' a Joel Sternfeld gallery wall winding through rural America, "forgetting about our everyday obligations" to head out across the country.
There's blissful naivety in tracks like 'Apricots,' as we head to the party to make out and dance to R&B ("Rolling with the homies and that"), and 'Bath Bomb,' where instead of peachy fruit, we're pickled and wrinkled in the bubbles and foam. It's these awkward, bittersweet and pretty rudimentary moments that make this record so charming though, particularly when laced with the dark possibility of decay.
But it's in record closer 'Tummy Ache' where Alex Luciano's lyricism is at its best: "'I don't need a man to hold my hand, and that's just something you'll never understand.' It's a cunning commentary on decades of tired, mansplained love songs and the antithesis to recent, red-headed, and calculated chart toppers. This is raw and real and won't be played from iPhones in a festival field this summer in an ironic way, rather into the savvy brains of misplaced millennials who just need to know they're doing OK.
And that's what Diet Cig is all about, unapologetic realities which they battle through in an unabashedly brilliant way. Turns out they meant what they said, they are pretty good at this.
Swear I'm Good At This will be released on April 7 via Frenchkiss Records.
Part-time guitarist and full-time feminist, Cheri is Deputy Editor of The Girls Are, an online and print magazine showcasing the best and brightest women musicians from across the globe. You'll find her words scattered across the likes of The Guardian and Under The Influence. Cheri is also part of The Other Woman collective hosting a monthly new music show on Resonance FM. Follow her on Twitter @thedivinehammer.
Photo courtesy Diet Cig
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