Published Apr 29, 2020Early on, Diet Cig were tasked with living up to expectations. In 2015, excitable fans in indie and punk circles quickly took to the bubbly yet scrappy sound of their Over Easy EP — "slop pop," as the band call it — and riding that wave of hype didn't leave them much time to shake off their imposter syndrome before reaching a point where all eyes were on them. When that debut album arrived two years later, its title — Swear I'm Good at This — reflected the mindset of two musicians still unsure of themselves even while being hailed as the next big thing.
Swear I'm Good at This delivered on their promise. A punky indie-pop album that was equally humorous and earnest, it sounded like a band playing their rookie season in the big leagues, but one that early fans from the DIY scene could still call their own. With their sophomore album Do You Wonder About Me?, singer-guitarist Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman feel invigorated and emboldened. It's a more calculated, refined and confident effort from the duo, who charmingly invite you to smile and laugh through the good times and the bad.
The cocksure, high-energy "Thriving" is a wry dig at someone you don't care about anymore but who you can't help but want to impress. "Do you wonder about me? / I'm thriving, thanks for asking," Luciano sings, later adding: "I hope my hair looks cute / When I run into you." She remains sardonically argumentative through "Who Are You?," a turn-of-the-millennium power-pop tune with crunchy guitars, a campy hook and insouciant delivery: "Who are you to say 'I'm sorry' when we both know you'd do it all over again?" Later, the breathless and endearing "Worth the Wait" finds a new sense of peace in the right companionship.
Lovesickness aside, Luciano turns her attention inward. In the breezy yet punchy "Night Terrors," she reckons with her former selves and pleads with her closest confidants to forgive the flaws of the past and present. "I'm still all the people I've ever been," she reaffirms in "Broken Body," a big, rousing standout with dense guitars, crashing cymbals and hymnal harmonies. "Staring Into the Sun" turns that insecurity into a triumphant anthem.
Honest, clever and lively, Diet Cig's second record is a great juxtaposition: working through embarrassment and shame all while bouncing off the walls to the sound of sugary, cheery indie-punk. Do You Wonder About Me? turns worry and uncertainty into a celebration of being human. Diet Cig invite you to laugh about your insecurities, dance to the rhythm of your jitters and sing along with all your self-doubt. After all, it's a song everyone knows. (Frenchkiss)