Rough Trade Album of the Month November 2019 – Cigarettes After Sex: Cry

The second Cigarettes After Sex album is very similar to the first.

And therein lies the problem.

Cry-500x500
The greyness, the greyness

Cry is the follow up to 2017’s self-titled debut. The first record got a good deal of air time in our house. My daughter cottoned onto it and found its soothing qualities perfect for homework and revision. It was barely there at times, melodic and listenable, a balm. It had a tendency toward the lysergic which add a wee edge.

It did have a tendency to one tempo and Greg Gonzales’s vocals did little to break the calm. It was pretty if somewhat lacking in substance.

p055vslr
Cigarettes After Sex – I defy you to find a coloured photo on the internet

To retain my attention, there needed to be some progression and development. There’s only so far that the chilled out vibe can go.

My first few listens reveal that the distance that Cigarettes After Sex have travelled between albums isn’t very far. Probably just a few miles along Highway 101 watching the sunset over California. I’m sure that if I really loved them, I’d be prepared to put in the work to determine what discernible differences there are.

But it doesn’t grab me. I see what they are going for – a cinematic vibe. There are David Lynch influences. Some of these songs could appear on a Nicholas Winding Refn movie, alongside some moody Cliff Martinez compositions. It isn’t awful but just feels so one dimensional both musically and emotionally. You really wouldn’t want to get cornered at a party by the guy singing these songs.

Frankly, I’ve got better records to be listening to.

So it’s in my daughter’s bedroom, next to the first LP.  I asked her what she thought of it. She recognised all of the points I’ve raised so far (she’s very astute, I’d say it was genetic) but still finds it ideal listening for background purposes, for falling asleep too, for finishing off those history essays whilst burning the midnight oil.

At least one of us is happy.

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