If you’re into slow ballads and serene, sleep-inducing, romantic music, then this band is perfect for you. But even if you’re not into slow music, Cigarettes After Sex might still be for you. Artistically melodious and imaginatively expressive, this band is beautiful on another level. The American ambient pop band was formed back in 2008 and founder and lead singer, Greg Gonzalez referred to it as “basically an accident, kind of an experiment”. One of their most heard and loved songs is Apocalypse.
It can be noted that the black and white color scheme fits perfectly with the melancholic theme of the band’s music. So does the sensual name. Everything from the broody voices to the slow rhythms to the bittersweet lyrics come together to form the aesthetic of the band. The lyrics of most tracks usually center around themes of romance, love and intimacy.
Apart from Greg Gonzalez, the current members of the band also include Randall Miller handling the bass and Jacob Tomsky on the drums. Together, they contribute to the originality of their music.
While marketed as an ambient pop band, Cigarettes After Sex is also considered to be shoegaze, dream pop and slowcore. The band first released its debut extended play (EP), called I., in 2012. Eventually, the song Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby garnered a lot of attention through commercial licensing. In 2015, Cigarettes After Sex dropped the single Affection. In his broody, lamenting voice, Gonzalez croons about a woman who doesn’t notice his affection for her.
It’s affection always,
You’re gonna see it someday
My attention for you
Even if it’s not what you need
Later on in 2017, the band released their self-titled debut studio album, Cigarettes After Sex, to positive reviews. The album contains musical numbers like K, Apocalypse and Truly.
K., Apocalypse, Crush: Melodic Art
Cigarettes After Sex creates soft yet striking melodies that are unique and pleasant to the ears. As an ambient pop band, it has qualities of traditional pop music intricately integrated with “electronic textures and atmospheres that mirror the hypnotic, meditative qualities of ambient music”.
Therefore, when Cigarettes After Sex tunes are gracefully drifting through the air, it creates a sensation of serenity and homely comfort. You could be making out with your lover or drifting off to sleep, the music knows how to play its part.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez has a voice described as “androgynous” (a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics). This explains why the band’s music sounds neither too sweet nor too strong. It’s crafted in a way that’s meant to appeal to a wide variety of listeners.
Moreover, songs like Apocalypse have the sort of dream-like composition and lyrical beauty which make them aesthetically pleasing to listen to:
You leapt from crumbling bridges watching cityscapes turn to dust
Filming helicopters crashing in the ocean from way above
It also has the melancholic touch that’s able to trigger emotions of nostalgia and grief:
Sharing all your secrets with each other since you were kids
Sleeping soundly with the locket that she gave you clutched in your fist…
Besides that, Cigarettes After Sex has a very minimalist approach to their website and brand name. They do not try too hard but manage to create the kind of simple aesthetic that demands attention. The black-and-white theme with a mixture of varying shades of grey makes for an appearance that directly relates to the subject matter and depth of their tracks. It lures listeners into the world of an ethereal, sensual musical style and once you go in, there’s no turning back. You’ll fall in love with the soft voices that croon about love, heartbreak and intimacy.
Currently, Cigarettes After Sex is on a 2019 world tour and you can find the tickets and tour dates on their website. The venues for June and July were recently posted on their Instagram page too: