Published Oct 22, 2019American ambient pop band Cigarettes After Sex have a deceptively simple way of doing things. Their 2017 EP was self-titled, and this full-length is called Cry — a word freighted with the weight of all our feelings. Nothing is as uncomplicated as it seems with Cigarettes After Sex.
While their first record had an edge to it, Cry is gentler and more vulnerable, but that's not to say the sex isn't there. The music was composed back in 2017, shortly after the release of Cigarettes After Sex. Frontman and founder Greg Gonzalez, drummer Jacob Tomsky and bassist Randy Miller decamped to Mallorca, and inside a mansion, allowed the Spanish island's rhythm to guide their initial sessions. The lyrics, however, weren't written by Gonzales until a couple of years later, buttressed by a new love. With guitars that trail behind with faintest echo and Gonzalez's voice that you feel in the pit of your stomach, Cry is an album that can't be taken at face value.
Opening track "Don't Let Me Go" is drenched in reciprocated limerence, the initial pangs of Gonzalez's guitar reminiscent of Julee Cruise's Floating Into the Night. "Come to me now, don't let me go, stay by my side," Gonzalez sings sweetly in his inimitable satiny croon. But things get a bit more complex. Going into "You're the Only Good Thing in My Life," you expect a poetic love song, but you get a deeply sensual track that paints a beautifully physical image of love. Everything is very imagistic with Gonzalez — he writes in pictures because he feels in pictures, crafting beautiful vignettes of the mundanities of being with someone loved.
Meanwhile, "Hentai" talks about "making love," not fucking, and Gonzalez's voice whispers, "thinking of me dead was making you feel bad." Likewise, "Touch" isn't blissfully sensual, it's heartbreaking, it hits a visceral chord that brings on tears. Cry will make you cry, because Gonzalez knows what he's doing. It's cathartic, stunning, it'll awaken your senses and it's not to be missed. (Partisan)