Cigarettes After Sex


White snow dresses Manchester’s Gorilla. What was at first a light flurry has quickly settled into a bed around Greg Gonzalez’s hushed weather. The Texan-native asks for someone he’s been waiting for to return to him, and with the words “stay with me,” Gonzalez expressionlessly falls for the big ‘she’ for the first of many times. “Your lips, my lips,” he continues on ‘Apocalypse’ – speaking to some kind of spiritual obsession before revealing himself to be a phantom as the words “when you’re all alone, I will reach for you,” hang brightly over muted sugar-elegance.

Endlessly haunted, haunting and cracked, New York four-piece Cigarettes After Sex speak to a world filled with forevers that deals in the currency of devotion and boundlessly surfs the endless distances between psyche and soma. Just as Vera Lynn once cast a spell with the words “lets say goodbye with a smile”, Gonzalez spends the evening walking us through this landscape that breaks your heart as much as it attempts to piece it back together.

‘Firefighter’ devastates – speaking to the feeling of foreverness held within a fading love. “I know you’re leaving baby,” sings Gonzalez with 5am night-call desperation against glittering simplicity. Eyes suddenly appear behind the band – following and full and sinking, and ‘Sunsetz’ is held within them. Gonzales kisses eveningness as he sings of wanting to hear the voice of a vision that follows. The gaze refuses to break – drifting in flickering heat-haze, until the look finally bleeds into ‘Bubblegum’, and where the future album-cut served to highlight the hyper-ecstasy of heartache, ‘Bubblegum’ sees Gonzalez as a prisoner – wishing away a love he never wanted to hold.

“This song’s for you,” announces Gonzalez, and as the first tentative, moon blue steps of ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ leave scars across the ceiling, the gaze is broken. The figure that was once starry eyed and glassy now wanders interior: a speck in a dark field – waiting for someone to happen. The noir distortions spin a voyeuristic web, as do the sweeping wishes of the soundtrack. “Nothing’s gonna take you from my side,” is called into the evening, and with it a collection of stolen moments that colour the storm to infinity.

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James Musker

Music Journalism student and lover of all things sensory and cosmic.