This article originally appeared in The Skinny
Brooklyn’s Cigarettes After Sex make the kind of music you might well expect from their moniker: hazy, ambient indie designed for the reflective moments of the afterglow in the twilight hours. After becoming something of a phenomenon on YouTube, vocalist and mastermind Greg Gonzalez envisaged the band’s debut album as being like a feature-length film, where elements repeat and overlap.
As such, Cigarettes After Sex is filled with hazy, swooning guitars and lilting percussion, with Gonzalez relating tales of great, sweeping romances and pronouncing his love boldly. With Sweet he reflects on how “it’s so sweet knowing that you love me” while “running my fingers through your hair” while on Opera House he declares that “I was meant to love you / I knew I loved you at first sight.” The spectre of both Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack and Morrissey’s most yearning lyrics for The Smiths loom large over the record and, for the most part, the band barely stray from this tried and tested formula. Flash is an exception, if only for a small detail, employing a vintage, almost R&B vibe with its snapping percussion that reverberates through the track.
However, the somewhat unique concept behind the album also becomes, ironically, its major drag; Cigarettes After Sex ends up overstaying its welcome. Most of the tracks retain the same languid pace, drifting through slowly like smoke lingering in the air. The fact that most of the tracks are nearly four or five minutes long just intensifies the soporific effect that emerges by the time John Wayne and Young & Dumb finally roll around at the album’s close. Cigarettes After Sex isn’t quite as addictive as nicotine, but there’s still a bit of a buzz to be had in the occasional dip into the band’s gauzy realm.