Cigarettes After Sex - “Cry” Album Review

Story posted October 30, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Scott Perdue

The fey-voiced Greg Gonzalez leads his now finalized band members of Cigarettes After Sex on their second studio album “Cry.” Committing to the direction they implemented on previous releases, the group dives deeper into the elements of their aesthetic in an effort to bring an even more exquisite feel to their dream-pop sound.

Heavily influenced by bands such as the Smiths and the Cocteau Twins, who mastered the ability to invoke bittersweet bliss, Cigarettes After Sex have quickly made a name for themselves thanks to their impressive ambient pop soundscapes of the same caliber.

The group gained attention for their depressed beats and slowed down covers of songs such as “Neon Moon” by Brooks & Dunn and “Keep on Loving You” by REO Speedwagon. Receiving almost immediate acclaim, the group’s impressive self-titled debut launched Cigarettes After Sex to the forefront of the indie mainstream. Their latest album boldly attempts to recapture that same amount of vigor, but just shies away from being an effective successor.

The album brilliantly opens with the tender “Don’t Let Me Go” and presents the listener with a dazzling exhibition of the group’s captivating soundscape creation. Cascading passive beats against Gonzalez’s gentle vocals, “Cry” quickly suspends the listener within the band’s tranquilly immersive drift.

Revisiting the personal life-infused, stream of consciousness method of writing found on Gonzalez’s previous works, the next track “Kiss It Off Me” recounts his wounded sentimental memories of a previous lover.

Hitting their stride, the band transitions to the euphoria-infused “Heavenly.” With a leisure pace supported by delicate vocals, the group maintains their silky flow.

However, the record then begins to lose its grip a tad thanks to the lack of variety in their subject matter. Without enough diversity in tone, all of the songs begin to blend together in an unfortunate way. Familiar lyrics begin to bleed throughout the entire work and separate the listener from truly feeling immersed. For instance, the word “love” is sprinkled so often throughout the album that it begins to diminish the genuine nature of Gonzalez’s lyricism.

Arguably there isn’t a single track that is poorly constructed on the album, every song has its own unique and effective enrapturing composition. However, the lack of range hinders the entire work from really lifting off the ground. Instead of feeling emotionally cathartic, often times the album grows a little dull. It is evident that the group has found their niche, but now it feels like it is time that they step out of their comfort zone.

“Cry” definitely proves that the group has a sound unlike any other, but leaves the listener feeling underwhelmed by the lack of exploration into new dimensions of their exceptional aesthetic. Definitely a valiant effort, each track has its own purpose, but the overall product just doesn’t land as well as their debut.

Looking towards the future, Cigarettes After Sex should work on limiting the repetitive nature of their material so that they can really penetrate some new ground with their music and retrieve their extraordinary sound’s spectacular potency.

Rating: 6/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “Don’t Let Me Go” and “Heavenly”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: N/A

 

 

Scott Perdue is a junior majoring in secondary education. To contact him, email rsp5246@psu.edu.