Album Review: Cigarettes After Sex - 'Cigarettes After Sex'

Paul Dixon shares his thoughts on the stunningly cinematic, self-titled debut album from Cigarettes After Sex, out now via Partisan Records

Now I’ve been around the block and have an eclectic taste in music and genres but hand on heart this album mesmerised me from 1st listen….where have this band been and how have I missed this sublime, drifty, languid yet engrossing style of delivery? I cannot find a way to describe the style and maybe compartmentalising it would be unwise so let me draw you a mental picture.

Imagine if you will, you are enveloped in a black and white cinematic scene, floating drone-like above the ground, it’s late at night and the streetlamps provide their curtains of weak white light, could be summer, could be winter… you are outside and alone, there are no other people for miles but you are in an urban jungle, built up flats of 70’s style boxlike concrete construction. You flit aimlessly round, from the distance at the other end of a badly lit underpass, graffiti lined….strewn with litter flavoured with a fairground smell (candy floss and fried onions) wafts a jangly, haunting, tinkling, dancing tune. Drawing you through the underpass with an enticing promise of more of the same….that’s my picture. This album is an experience if you’ll let it be. It’s there to wrap it’s arms around you. It makes you close your eyes, it puts your brakes on, it brings forth strong emotion and rocks your musical appreciation like a huge comfy hammock.

The haunting but light, hazy poppy style is a perfect accompaniment to Greg Gonzalez’s sweet, accomplished entertaining tone. It’s uplifting and I find it hypnotic in it’s delivery. The guitar dances with hints of Spanish acoustic reverb style, a strong bass leaves a firm but subtle backline and there is a dreamy synth providing support but not defining this American indie style.

Through the album from ‘K’ through to ‘young and dumb’ the sounds feel like an anthology of a movement. There is no major flitting from style to style or jumping from ballad to a pogo tune, this feels a deliberate piece of work, written, performed and delivered with terrific production to stand scrutiny and time. There feels an almost seamless flow from song to song but with no hint or suggestion that one could tire of it.

Whilst the new single ‘Each Time You Fall In Love' does rise above a couple of the tunes on the album, in reality the band have delivered a collection of singles, such is the strength of the writing and the tunery!

This album will remain a go to for me for some time, when I need to escape and spend some me time enjoying quality and engaging lyrics…perfect for the party wind down and a serious grown up drink or just with the earphones on and blotting out the mundane reality of the daily commute, eyes closed…drifting to a happy place (note: not if you are driving!)

May 18 - Taiwan, Taipei - Legacy
May 19 - Thailand, Bangkok - Acmem
May 30 - Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound
Jun 8 - Porto, Portugal - Primavera Sound
Jun 13 - Croatia, Zagreb - Culture Factory
Jun 14 - Slovenia, Ljubljana - Kino Šiška
Jun 16 - Germany, Mannheim - Maifeld Derby
Jun 17 - Netherlands, Hilvarenbeek - Best Kept Secret
Jun 29 - Belgium, Werchter - Rock Werchter
July 1 - Greece, Athens - Rockwave
July 8 - Italy, Padova - Just Like Heaven
July 13 - Lithuania, Vilnius - Piano.Lt Vasaros Terasa
July 14 - Latvia, Salacgriva - Positivus
July 18 - Serbia, Belgrade - Bazeni
July 19 - Hungary, Budapest - A38 Ship
July 22 - Austria, Wiesen - Out of the Woods
July 24 - Italy, Rome - Villa Ada Festival
July 25 - Italy, Cesena - Acielo Aperto
July 27 - Switzerland, Lugano - Longlake Festival
July 29 - France, Cabourg - Cabourg Mon Amour
July 30 - France, Aulnoyes-Aymerie - Nuits Secretes
Aug 2 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg - Rotondes
Aug 3 - Germany, Luhmuhlen - A Summer's Tale
Aug 5 - Estonia, Polva - Intsikurmu
Aug 11 - Slovakia, Piestany - Grape Festival
Aug 13 - Italy, Palermo - Ypsigrock Festival
Aug 25 - England, Reading - Reading Festival
Aug 25 - England, Leeds - Leeds Festival
Sep 7 - Vancouver, BC - The Imperial
Sep 8 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
Sep 9 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
Sep 11 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
Sep 14 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom
Sep 15 - San Diego, CA - The Irenic
Sep 16 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
Sep 17 - Santa Fe, NM - Meow Wolf
Sep 19 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
Sep 21 - Dallas, TX - Trees
Sep 22 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall Upstairs
Sep 23 - Austin, TX - The Parish
Oct 4 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
Oct 5 - Washington, DC - U Street Music Hall
Oct 7 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
Oct 9 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Oct 10 - Montreal, QC - Theatre Fairmount
Oct 11 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre
Oct 13 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
Nov 4 - Denmark, Copenhagen - Vega Jr
Nov 6 - Germany, Cologne - Kulturkirche
Nov 7 - Belgium, Brussels - AB
Nov 10 - Netherlands, Amsterdam - Melkweg
Nov 12 - England, Nottingham - Rock City
Nov 13 - England, Leeds - Stylus
Nov 14 - Scotland, Glasgow - QMU
Nov 16 - Ireland, Belfast - Limelight 2
Nov 17 - Ireland, Dublin - Whelan's
Nov 19 - England, Manchester - Ritz
Nov 20 - England, London - Roundhouse
Nov 22 - France, Strasbourg - La Laiterie
Nov 23 - France, Lyon - Epicerie Moderne
Nov 27 - Spain, Madrid - El Sol
Nov 28 - Spain, Zaragoza - Las Armas
Nov 29 - Spain, Barcelona - La de Apolo
Dec 4 - Switzerland, Zurich - Plaza
Dec 6 - Germany, Berlin - Astra
Dec 7 - Poland, Warsaw - Progresja


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