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Cigarettes After Sex Bringing Their Unique Sound to The Underground

Greg Gonzalez’s Cigarettes After Sex are bringing their ambient, shoegaze infected pop-rock to The Underground soon, but to call their music ambient pop, shoegaze, or soft rock really doesn’t grasp the essence of their sound. Considering their music is made solely for having sex to, getting high to, or falling asleep to doesn’t do it justice either (even if it actually is all those things).

Cigarettes After Sex, and their self titled full length debut, are much more than what they topically appear to be. First off, Cigarettes After Sex is not an album of love songs. In fact, I believe that you’d be hard pressed to find a “love song” on the whole album. With a sound that would be so at home at The Bang Bang Bar that it would hurt, Cigarettes After Sex is a collection of songs from the other side of the veil. That veil may be a softly drawn, yet impenetrable mental barrier between a former love and a spurned lover’s memories, or a smoky afterlife reminiscence from the other side of the spiritual/physical world’s separating veil. Regardless of whatever veil it may be that Gonzalez is metaphorically peering through, Cigarettes After Sex’s haunting rhythms, lyrics, and guitar strums linger heavily in the air like the conjured smoke and spirits in the song’s themes do.

Cigarettes After Sex is an apocalypse (no pun intended) and death (in the metaphorical and actual sense of the word) haunted album as well. In “Flash” Gonzalez sings about playing “Satan’s imagination” while a “voice in my head’s causing suicide.” “K.” tells the story of a love found and lost apparently at the same time, invoking themes of the life and death of a relationship simultaneously as if seen from both perspectives. Lyrics that seem trite and adolescent take on a different meaning when listened to deeply in the context of the trance-like music. The tensions that tenderly pull at one another throughout the album and juxtapose upon each other (“Apocalypse” has the most destructive imagery while simultaneously being the most up tempo song on the album) make for a deep psychological and lyrical dive that, again, belies the apparent triteness of the lyrics. Cigarettes After Sex, what at first appears to be a silly and rather obvious name for a band and an album, suddenly, after some thought, reveals itself to be the perfect metaphor for the life and death, sweet and bitter, love vs. obsession dichotomies that layer the band and album’s lyrics and music with meaning.

So, now that we’ve established that Cigarettes After Sex is a band perfect for having sex to, getting high to, falling asleep to, AND thinking deceptively deeply about, I’m anxious to find out if they are perfect for having an engaging, and further thought provoking, live music experience to. Somehow, I think they will be, and more…


Cigarettes After Sex are performing live at The Underground. Get tickets here.

Carolina's based writer/journalist Andy Frisk love music, and writing, and when he gets to intermingle the two he feels most alive. Covering concerts and albums by both local and national acts, Andy strives to make the world a better place and prove Gen X really can still save the world.

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