BEST NEW INDIE: CIGARETTES AFTER SEX - CRUSH

6/16/18
Cigarettes After Sex - Crush

Cigarettes After Sex explore pretty much every single feeling of infatuation on "Crush"!

"I wanna line my walls with photographs you sent / Of you lying in your swimsuit on the bed / Can’t live without your love inside me now / I’ll find a way to slip into your skin somehow," Sings Greg Gonzalez on Cigarettes After Sex's lusciously gorgeous new single, "Crush." The first part - so romantic! Who wouldn't want someone who treats them like a revered Hollywood icon from the 1940s. Those last two lines start getting into Buffalo Bill from Silence Of The Lambs and we start to worry a little bit. Maybe they're just a little bit too into you?

Cigarettes After Sex don't care, though. It's been one of their greatest strengths since the release of their self-titled debut last year. They speak candidly, openly about sex, love, romance, relationships, infatuation, without trying to make themselves look good or always appear perfect. It's refreshing to hear someone write painfully obsessive songs of romance in these oh-so-careful times.

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CIGARETTES AFTER SEX - CRUSH

"Crush" might sound like the lead-up to ending up stuffed on someone's parlor wall, but the music never lets on. "Crush" shivers with Cigarettes After Sex's trademarked carbonite chill. Guitars stand squinting in a dry-ice fog of reverb while a slow waltz drum beat dances alone in the distance. Gonzalez's vocals are as low-key, laidback, romantic, and expressive as ever, doing a great deal to make "Crush" hot instead of creepy. On "Crush," Greg Gonzalez brings to mind the lyrical romanticism and silken crawl of early Death Cab For Cutie or a less arch, conceptual Stephen Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.

Musically, Cigarettes After Sex are still refining and resurrecting their mellow guitar-centric indie sound. Those who loved the intimacy of early Beach House will be well-served by "Crush." As will fans of slow-motion romantic rockabilly from the '90s like Mazzy Star. One of the most obvious touchstones would have to be Chris Isaac's seminal seductive ballad "Wicked Games." Cigarettes After Sex are imagining an alternate past where Chris Isaak continued to turn out lovelorn, seductive artful rock 'n roll for years on end. It answers the question what might've been had Isaac managed to blend the promise of that single with his part in Twin Peaks. We'd probably be living in a much better world.

"Crush" reminds us so much of romance is about how you say something. With the right intonation, something that could be creepy as hell comes across as romantic, charming. Kudos to Cigarettes After Sex to open up about their obsessiveness when it'll likely get them labelled stalkers. We Are: The Guard approve this open vulnerability and honesty and hope it details a return of genuinely romantic music.

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J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.