High-energy pop-punkers Diet Cig established themselves as ones to watch with debut LP Swear I’m Good At This, which combined breezy, infectious guitar melodies with meditations on teenage love and loss.
With their follow-up effort Do You Wonder About Me?, the unapologetically rough-edged New Yorkers have taken a step towards maturity. Described by the band themselves as “an ode to growing up”, the record feels more assured and expansive than its predecessor – without sacrificing their DIY sensibilities and trademark self-deprecating humour.
Cathartic opener Thriving – a middle finger to a former lover – sets the tone for the rest of the album with big, bouncy hooks, hammering drum hits and lyrics bursting with sardonic wit. “I’m thriving, thanks for asking,” singer-guitarist Alex Luciano insists, refusing to let herself become the object of pity.
Luciano continues to wrestle with heartbreak on sparky earworm Who Are You? Written for anyone who’s ever received a self-serving apology from someone who hurt them (“Who are you to say ‘I’m sorry’ when we both know you’d do it all over again?”), it’s an upbeat piece of pop perfection, complete with irresistible hand claps.
Diet Cig’s youthful angst reaches an all-time high on Broken Body, which explores Luciano’s battle with depression following an on-stage injury. Swapping snappy one-liners for acute vulnerability (“I can’t remember the last time I felt good inside my head”), the shoegaze-inspired guitars soar against her emotionally potent vocal delivery.
The 10-track LP culminates in the dreamy Night Terrors (Reprise), where power riffs and killer choruses give way to sparse vocals and bubbly, Postal Service-style synths – a sign that the duo are growing before our very eyes.
Clocking in at under 25 minutes, Do You Wonder About Me? is just shy of feeling like a fully-fleshed project. But with bags of potential, it’s an album that makes you excited to see what self-confessed “slop pop” exponents Diet Cig choose to do next.