Bringing Laughs to Power Pop
For the last two years now, Diet Cig have been gaining momentum, finding notoriety in the alternative rock scene. Vocalist Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman are a duo with undeniable chemistry. Their first EP, Over Easy, with catchy tunes like “Harvard,” brought them to the top of modern power-pop with other acts such as PWR BTTM and Girlpool. Fans of the duo clamored for the inevitable full-length that was incoming and Diet Cig have finally delivered with Swear I’m Good At This.
Although just 28 minutes in length, these 12 tracks pack a quick punch of fun, mosh pit-worthy pop-punk. The initial track, “Sixteen,” brings the listener right into the light-hearted humor of Diet Cig. The first lyrics of the album read, “When I was sixteen / I dated a boy / with my own name / it was weird / in the back of his truck / moaning my name / while trying to f*ck.” In this line, Luciano plays with the funny thought of dating someone with the same name as her and then lets out a whimsical “ready?” as the power chords strike down to kick off the LP. This formula of humor and steady power-punk sets the course for the remainder of the listen.
The humor in songs like “Barf Day” and “Maid of the Mist” is relatable to listeners, especially female ones. “Barf Day” takes a lackadaisical look at the silliness of being alone on birthdays, as Bowman offers his most impressive drum track on the record. “Maid of the Mist” responds to breakup songs with a simple response of “get over it;” it’s a pretentious thought, but, in the context of the song, it feels empowering to Luciano and her attitude towards life. Lead single “Tummy Ache” deserves a chuckle for lines like, “My stomach hurts / ‘cause it’s hard to be punk while wearing a skirt.” Specifically on “Tummy Ache,” the production really succeeds towards the end with the combination of background vocals — also done by Luciano. The two sides combat each other in a mixture that really makes the track successful and closes the record on a positive note.
In the end, Diet Cig produce a cute power-pop album that boasts empowering lyrics with a sense of humor that matches its poppiness. Musically, the album is not necessarily impressive, as it fails to break any new ground. The appeal of Diet Cig is in the lyrics and overall aesthetic, which force a smile on one’s face. The most impressive part of Diet Cig’s instrumentals is that they do not sound like they come from a two-piece. They never make the listener feel as if there is something missing to piece the whole thing together. The tones from Luciano’s guitar make the album sound complete sonically, even if the chords and progressions are not complex enough to be critically praised. This record does not differentiate strongly from Over Easy’s aesthetic, but fans of the duo will enjoy Swear I’m Good At This. For those who have never heard of Diet Cig, this is a good entering point to a simple, but all around fun power-punk band.