by Tim Birkbeck
For most artists, the opening track of a record is the scene setter, an easing in of what is to follow for the rest of the album. However, New Paltz, New York duo Diet Cig have never been ones to adhere to the norms.
So when the highly anticipated debut record, Swear I’m Good At This opens with ‘Sixteen’ it is almost a statement of intent for the pair. Hearing vocalist / guitarist Alex Luciano’s beautiful voice putting her heart on the line really opens makes the listener open up to the band immediately. The words; “When I was 16 I dated a boy with my own name, it was weird, in the back of his truck moaning my own name while trying to fuck” slip out of Luciano’s mouth so effortlessly, you can instantly feel the raw emotion and heartache in her voice.
The duo have been playing music together ever since Luciano interrupted the set of drummer Noah Bowman’s other band for a lighter. Ever since the pairing has put out a steady stream if consistent sing-a-long lyrics with thrashing drums and strums which are never held back. This ethos has been carried over to Swear I’m Good At This. But for all the fun loving indie pop sounds produced Diet Cig there is a deeper aggression to their music as well. This is something portrayed brilliantly on ‘Link in Bio’ – the lyrical content is the ultimate two fingers up from the band who will not put up with their surroundings anymore – they will do what they what to do.
The 12-track record is quick, loud, and simple while asserting an outward DIY attitude, and the pair manage to make just two musicians at times sound like five times that. Bowman is given free range to display his talents as a drummer, especially on tracks like ‘Blob Zombie’ where his pace quickens and slows down in just the right places – it’s the perfect companion to Luciano’s bouncing guitar.
Diet Cig has crafted life-affirming, relatable tales in their music with a gutsy heart at their core, with Luciano showing her ability to write lyrics which are both vulnerable and kick-ass. The duo’s brand of indie-pop has an endless charm to it, and with Summer just around the corner it is a safe bet that Swear I’m Good At This will be the anthem of many people’s time spent in the sun this year.
Swear I’m Good At This is out not via Frenchkiss Records.