If you’ve been looking for a band that blends the androgynous, darkly poetic lyrics of Placebo, the melancholic songs from The XX’s first album, and the sensibilities of The Smiths; then look no further than Cigarettes After Sex. After the incredible online break-out success of single ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ (which has 46+ Million YouTube views to date), the band have finally released their debut eponymous album; and it’s another cinematic, intoxicating offering.
Previous single ‘K’ opens the album with the band’s trademark gentle percussion, melodic slow guitar, and Greg Gonzalez’s smooth vocals. The song stretches out over five minutes, meandering through “crystal” clear memories of enviable intimacy. ‘Each Time You Fall In Love’ is equally as precious, but in a jaded, mournful way. The song laments how love is “clearly not enough” in some relationships, and questions the sincerity of romance.
On ‘Sunsetz’, the erotic side to romance is explored through explicit lyricism and sultry electronics. Gonzalez delivers lines like “open your dress and show me your tits on the swing-set” in such a casual, gentle manner that it avoids being distasteful. It’ll be hard not to melt from the heat of his words. The same can be said for the hauntingly beautiful ‘Apocalypse’, which is easily a highlight of the album. If this is what “watching cityscapes turn to dust” sounds like, then the end of the world is going to be divine.
‘Flash’ will spark the desire to “do the right thing baby” with its echoic percussion and moody synths, whilst ‘Sweet’ depicts the physical obsession with a lover’s body – something worth breaking your heart for. The atmospheric ‘Opera House’ describes an inescapable love that’s as grand as the building in the song’s title, but as painful as being cut by “barbed wire”. It’s the subtle blending of these binary opposites that make Cigarettes After Sex’s songs such addictive listening, and ‘Truly’ is another perfect example of this. Gonzalez coolly remarks “Truly, you really don’t need to be in love, to make love to me” – a dangerously attractive concept.
The cinematic elements of the album are fully embraced on the final tracks ‘John Wayne’ and ‘Young Dumb’. The first describes a man consumed by love, crazy for trying to live like the iconic actor, whilst the second track’s lustful synths play out in the same pattern, acting as a perfect bookend to the album. Cigarettes After Sex’s full length debut is as addictive and intoxicating as their post-coital name. Let yourself unashamedly melt to their hypnotic, pop-noir sounds.
Cigarettes After Sex’s album will be released on June 9th via Partisan Records. Follow the band on Facebook for more updates.