Diet Cig bottle power pop lightning on Swear I’m Good At This

Diet Cig - Swear I’m Good At ThisDid it occur to you to stop for a moment and think about what all this might be doing to the kids? Do you even know where you left them? Like a beleaguered prime minister, we’ve abandoned them in the pub, forced to make their own way between the fruit machines and the soothing baritone of Jeff Stelling. And guess what? They know all about Article 50, and the attempted repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and now they’re drinking, smoking, reading Dick Hebdige, and having sex in the back of trucks with boys who share their first name. On Swear I’m Good At This, upstate New York duo Diet Cig have effortlessly captured the zeitgeist in half an hour of adrenaline-fuelled power pop, bottling a lightning I’d forgotten could still strike.

“It was weird moaning my own name while trying to fuck,” Alex Luciano recalls over drawn-out guitar chords on “Sixteen”. She hadn’t picked up an electric guitar till she started jamming with Bowman, but Luciano’s bare-bones songwriting is perfect for the punky, DIY aesthetic they work in, borne out of sharing a stage with The Front Bottoms and listening to Brooklyn's Frankie Cosmos. Moreover, following a fortnight where the biggest releases were Drake's Passionfruit and Father John Misty's Pure Comedy, both clocking in around the 80-minute mark, what a balm it is to listen to a couple of punks knock out spirited two-minute pop songs in nearly a third of that time.

All the sweat and blood on Swear I'm Good At This is offset by Luciano's disarmingly sweet singing voice, which not only serves to retain a sense of melody on the louder numbers, but also provides an irresistible contrast with some of the more acerbic lyrics. The vast majority of the vitriol here is reserved for the patriarchy and its foot soldiers, finding its apogee on “Link in Bio”: “They say speak your mind but not too loud… and you should love yourself, but don’t be too proud.” The song ends with Luciano gently cooing the words “fuck off” over and over, and if there’s a better soundtrack to the Steve Bannon era, I’ve yet to hear it.

There are genuinely tender moments too, such as “Apricots”, which just scrapes past a minute of breezy acoustic guitar, yet still manages to elicit an emotional response; something about the talk of going to a supermarket and buying “all the things I thought my mom would get” speaks to a youthful concern for how one is supposed to, as the modern verb goes, adult. But for every doubt about the world and our place in it, there’s a more powerful affirmation on Swear I’m Good At This, one that sees the fragmentary effect of modern politics as the very glue that binds those oppressed by it. In Luciano’s words, “It's me screaming that it's okay to be loud and bossy and sensitive and kind and weird and angry and ecstatic and literally any other emotion that you feel because YOU ARE A RADIANT AND NUANCED HUMAN BEING WHO IS GOING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD <3." God knows young people need to hear that right now.

Release: 7th April 2017, Frenchkiss Records


One Response to “Diet Cig bottle power pop lightning on Swear I’m Good At This”


    1. Diet Cig say what the world needs to hear on Swear I’m Good At This – Live List - 04/04/2017

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