I solemnly swear Diet Cig’s “Swear I’m Good At This” is Good
Say the title of this write up five times fast. Made that a mouthful on purpose.
Well, now that I’ve made you twist your tongue, I’ll get into the review. Unlike the title of this review, the record in question is pretty straightforward. After a quiet verse of “Sixteen,” singer and guitarist Alex Luciano expectantly asks the listener, “ready?”
I think so, Alex. I think so.
Diet Cig seem to be an embodiment of a sound many in the DIY indie rock community are gunning for. They seem to be serving as a bridge between the niche DIY basement show crowd and music fans at large. Judging from the feel of this record, they seem to be embracing that role happily.
The topics range from teenage love (“Sixteen”), being alone on your birthday (“Barf Day”) and quirky life anecdotes (“Apricots”) and more. I actually recognized the first song right away from a SXSW performance last year, in which they introduced it as a new song.
Listening to these earworms after seeing this duo live makes it difficult to imagine them in the studio doing take after take of a song, or portion of a song. In my mind, Alex is always that upbeat sprite of a human bouncing around stage, seemingly without a care in the world, even in the midst of lyrics that are angst-ridden. It’s this quality that brings a down to earth feel to all of the band’s songs. They are relatable and easy to digest, yet don’t feel contrived. It’s interesting to me to consider the science of writing most pop songs – multiple writers, heavy production, proven formulas, and the like. It seems to me Diet Cig is on the cusp of accomplishing similarly digestible songs simply by just writing tunes that are relatable. Even the raw feel of the production feels deliberately down to earth. Not super polished, but not demo-like either. We have fun and genuine good ol’ rock and roll.
Diet Cig isn’t my usual wheelhouse, but I’ll spin this album!