“I’m thriving, thanks for asking,” Diet Cig vocalist Alex Luciano recites on the first track of the group’s latest release, Do You Wonder About Me? and that they are. Following up 2017’s Swear I’m Good At This, the duo spent the majority of their time after the release of their debut working on these songs, dating back as early as summer 2017 where Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman spent the hot summer months writing in Richmond, VA.
Unlike their first record, where the band seemingly had something to prove to the world, there is a strong sense of comfort in these new tunes or at least acceptance of who they are. On top of that, the time spent off the road clearly allowed the twosome to properly flush out the songs, rather than “work out the kinks in the songs by playing them live.”
Known for their high energy performances, both on record and stage, it’s worth noting that the upbeat spunk that riddled their first record doesn’t necessarily take a step back, but rather is showcased in a much more refined way. “Who Are You?,” one of the lead singles, is an infectious pop-bop that brings back that feeling, with cute one-liners like “my moon is a cancer, I wish I was a better slow dancer.” (Easily one of the best songs, if not the best the two have released to date.) Sonically, “Night Terrors” follows the same path, but lyrically it is a very different story as, somehow, a line like “I promise not to kill you in my sleep” can sound serene.
In classic Diet Cig fashion, there are a few short, but sweet songs on the record. “Priority Mail” and “Makeout” are the short ballads; The first is a piano-driven number that is somewhat like a life update if you will, as Luciano details how she “doesn’t like driving like she used to” and “almost died too many times” while the latter shares the same sentiment, like strategically placed interludes (“Makeout” is technically an interlude according to the tracklisting, though “Priority Mail” is not).
After the streak of slower songs, including “Broken Body” in the middle, which had a very catchy verse and dreamy yet bombastic chorus (thanks to Bowman), all that is thrown out the window once “Flash Flood” hits. A refreshing change from what you will have become accustomed to, any bit of chaotic energy can be found during this minute-and-a-half stint. As we reach the end, “Worth The Wait” and “Staring In The Sun” return us to the speed at which we had been cruising. Track eight, an acoustic number, features a personal favourite lyric, “I just wanna take care of my friends, my plants and me.” Wrapping it all up is the synth-driven reprise of “Night Terrors” which shows the song in a whole new light.
Typically, a second record is known to be a “make or break” for bands, yet it’s hard to see it that way for Diet Cig considering their penchant for positive change. One can’t help but acknowledge that with this album they’re taking a big step in the right direction, considering the minimal nature of their sound. On Do You Wonder About Me? they wear their personal growth on their sleeves, completely rework things, yet also pull from everything that made their debut so enjoyable.
Do You Wonder About Me? Track Listing:
2. Who Are You?
3. Night Terrors
4. Priority Mail
5. Broken Body
6. Makeout (Interlude)
7. Flash Flood
8. Worth The Wait
9. Staring At The Sun
10. Night Terrors (Reprise)
Run Time: 24:48
Release Date: May 1, 2020
Record Label: Frenchkiss Records