Album: Do You Wonder About Me? Artist: Diet Cig
Release date: 1 May 2020
Label: Frenchkiss Records
There is a sprightly touch to the works of this indie rock duo, Diet Cig. Something that has a semblance of the current music scene yet it seems more genuine and somehow latches on to the nerve. The members of this New York outfit, Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman, calls their second album ‘slow pop’ yet it is as eclectic as they come. There is a melodramatic journeyman feel to the entirety of the album that essentially talks about the mundane contradictions of being an adult. The hypocrisy, contradictions, vanity and the problems of life are laid bare in this 25-minute album.
The album opens with a ballad, Thriving which has the all but familiar theme of lost love and broken heart. The maturity of understanding the most human reaction to such a loss which involves trying to thrive without the presence of that particular someone in our lives yet somehow wanting them to pay attention at how one is thriving despite the love. An intermingling of Luciano’s searing vocals with an irresistible hook and tone makes this song difficult to wash off.
The songs that follow Thriving are defined in itself in making sure that the album leaves an indelible mark on your senses right off the bat. With songs like Who Are You? and Night Terrors, the ease of talking about daily hassles becomes almost second nature to this band. It is important to realise that this album is as personal as it gets which makes the band all the more relatable in its essence. Night Terrors is about insomnia and nightmares that plagues the singer and it is an almost honest retelling of the experience. I found that if one is to really explore the lyrical depth of this song, it is worth listening to the reprised version of this song.
The album is an exploration of the insecurities of the adult life peppered with the urgency of acerbic experience that we often find ourselves indulging into. The song Flash Flood and Broken Body purely relies on the energy and rhythm of Bowman’s engaging drumming; the former being nothing but pure mosh pit madness punk styled tune. The play on words and the turn of phrases used in songs like Broken Body makes the band lyrically adept at making routine thoughts and feelings approachable and meaningful. This could possibly be the reason why the album feels like something any young adult would associate with upon considerable listening.
The interesting aspect of this album and what makes it engaging is the fact that the songs are interspersed with diverse musicalities. There is the reticent indie rock feel to the entirety of the album yet the punk rock aura remains intact and can be seen a clear influence to their music. The songs like Makeout Interlude and Priority Mail finds the band to be adept at stripping down the fluff and sticking to the power of the minimal. This appreciation of the minimalistic aspects of music makes us wanting more from the album which is the best compliment one could have for any band.
The three year wait for this album after their success with the 2017 release Swear I’m Good At This finds the band having accepted the growth and fallacies that comes with the passage of time. A suggestion that would make this album more appealing would be to explore their 2017 album as that one captures the angst of the younger teenage years and acts as a perfect stepping stone into this 2020 album. Though the themes in both these albums are somewhat similar, it is the maturity that stands out. The maturity in the lyrics, the production and the almost unmissable accentuated attention to diverse tonalities that makes this album an interesting and rather fascinating exploration of insecurities and daily hassles. It is a melodramatic story that becomes a fitting background music for young adults as they walk through their lives. It seems that it is true when they say less is more.
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