After releasing their debut EP ‘I’ back in 2012, it’s fair to say that American four-piece, Cigarettes After Sex have given us all a long and tedious wait for their debut self-titled album, yet here we all are in utter anticipation for a series of breathtakingly ambient tracks. The band have recently toured the UK and are set to play Leeds and Reading Festival this year and what a better way to do so than with a brand new debut album.
Hallowing guitar riffs and tender percussion open the album beautifully with a track the band released back in 2016, ‘K’. Gonzalez’s iconic androgynous vocals give the album an instant edge, it’s different and an unusual take on the 1980s ambient pop genre. A common theme that runs through the album is the stunning ability to apply deep narrative to lyrics. The track tells a beautiful tale of establishing an unexpected romance with a friend Kristen (hence the track’s title, ‘K’) and wanting the romance to rekindle.
‘Each Time You Fall In Love’ is another track that we’ve already had the delight of hearing prior to the release of the album. Opening with a harrowing blend of euphoric synths and gentle drum percussion. Gonzalez’s exquisite ability to incorporate elements of deep, insightful narrative into hazy lyrics whilst being indulged in glorious synths and reverb-drenched guitar well and truly brings this track together.
Somewhat different to the other songs on the album, the third track ‘Sunsetz’ is fueled by isolated vocals and a strong thuddy bassline. The band’s iconic chimey guitar riffs add a more upbeat dimension to the album.
‘Apocalypse’ adds a more potent and upbeat dimension to the album with melodic guitar riffs and optimistic, romantic lyrics. The track takes a pause, Cigarettes After Sex demonstrate a degree of experimentation and indulge ears with the calmest, yet most stunning crescendo to possibly exist, an utterly bleary, guitar reverie.
The final track on the album ‘Young and Dumb’ is gut wrenching and takes a much more apparent pessimistic stance. Sadness and pain aren’t dressed up with intricate lyrics and Gonzalez stunning yet weary vocals leave you with a lump in your throat.
The album as a whole oozes with romanticism and does so in a particularly classy and sophisticated way. In some ways, the album lacks variety and it would have been interesting to see the band strive in a different and more full-frontal direction but in other ways, the band stick to what they do best. Nevertheless, Cigarettes After Sex have wholeheartedly cemented themselves as an exquisite ambient-pop band and bring a new dynamic revival to the 1980s music genre. Cigarettes After Sex is a stunning album that is a must listen.