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Cigarettes After Sex - Cry (Album Review)

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 Written by Graeme Marsh

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. After the success of any record, there is an inevitable clamour from fans wanting more of the same. Others, however, are quick to complain that a band aren’t going anywhere if they stick to one formula.

Cigarettes After Sex’s self-titled debut was stunning; a collection of slow, singularly paced tracks that sat within a template of spidery guitar lines, synth chords and Greg Gonzalez’s soft, androgynous vocals. Gonzalez has, though, declared that their second LP 'Cry’ is different: “I had very different ideas about the sound I wanted.”

‘Cry’ was tracked in Mallorca—the music at least, the vocals were added later—just as their debut was hitting shelves in the summer of 2017. With that in mind, and despite Gonzalez’s claims, it’s hard to see what’s so different.

Opener Don’t Let Me Go is splattered with Cocteau Twins-style twinkling guitars and you’ll find more everywhere you look. You’ll also trip over gentle synths at each turn, as well as Gonzalez’s unmistakable vocals. So much so that one track often bleeds into the next.

“These songs are all anchored in love,” the frontman has stated, but it’s a side of love that doesn’t get broached in these terms too often. While the debut occasionally tested the waters with lyrics about sucking cock, there isn’t anything quite so explicit here. But with the nature of the music being so genteel, things can feel a little creepy.

“Falling in my lap, you were so thirsty,” Gonzalez sings. “Feel me on your lips.” He hints at something sleazy when he intones “never need to tell me when you come” during the sorrowful You’re the Only Good Thing in my Life. It feels uncomfortably out of step with the music. 

Elsewhere, though, his lyrics are so emotional that they rip the heartstrings out completely. On Touch, slightly more peppy backing combines with lovelorn words: “I was hurt and so I took a shower so you couldn’t hear me, knowing I had to cry.” Then: “While my heart was breaking, you were sleeping or just faking.”

With such similarity between songs, it’s difficult to pick out highlights here, but that was also the case on the band’s debut and repeated plays will draw out the best cuts. The melodies remain lush, and so familiar in places that you swear you must have heard them before. Interestingly,  Cigarettes After Sex have covered very few songs in their past, most notably REO Speedwagon’s Keep On Loving You, Roky Erikson’s Starry Eyes and, perhaps more aptly, Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You.

It’s hard to argue that Cigarettes After Sex are more than one-trick ponies after listenting to ‘Cry’, but thanks to its status as an entirely compelling follow-up to a similar-sounding predecessor, does anything really need to change?

Cigarettes After Sex Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed November 27 2019 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Thu November 28 2019 - LONDON O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
Mon March 23 2020 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Tue March 24 2020 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Wed March 25 2020 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
Fri March 27 2020 - LEEDS Leeds Beckett Student Union
Sat March 28 2020 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Sun March 29 2020 - LIVERPOOL O2 Academy Liverpool

Click here to compare & buy Cigarettes After Sex Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





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