Diet Cig’s terrific trampoline tunes
Erin McAuliffe | Friday, April 7, 2017
This morning I snoozed for 49 minutes.
Pop-punk duo Diet Cig’s Alex Luciano (vocals and guitar) gets that feeling — and pretty much everything else millennials “meme” about — on the band’s debut album “Swear I’m Good At This,” released April 7th.
“I wanna be the best one at this but I don’t wanna get out of bed,” she croons over simple guitar riffs and thrashing drums on track “Blob Zombie.”
Luciano met bandmate and drummer Noah Bowman after she interrupted his band’s set for a lighter. She offered to film a music video for his band but quickly realized she wanted to be on stage, so Bowman and Luciano paired up. They released their EP “Over Easy” in 2015, and since then the band has been getting out of bed in the mornings for eggs and band practice. Don’t sleep on them — “Swear I’m Good At This” is a telling title for this feminist, saccharine Pop Rocks debut punk release.
The album starts out on a personal note — Luciano playfully discusses the treacherous terrain surrounding “getting it on” with someone of the same name. Around the one-minute mark we hear her ask “Ready?” as Bowman comes in on drums in sympathetic catharsis. This supportive, enthusiastic dynamic is echoed throughout the album, but also in the duo’s live shows — at a set I saw them perform in July, Bowman gleamed as Luciano hopped, kicked and jumped around stage.
However, not all friendships can be this great: Opener “Sixteen” ends with Luciano’s sad teenage realization that her friends were fake and probably wouldn’t come to her post-breakup barbecue as she questions how many hot dogs to buy. (From the egg references on “Over Easy” to eating tacos everyday for breakfast on this album’s track “Road Trip,” Diet Cig has a knack for relatable, humorous food references. On this record Luciano mentions grocery shopping twice.)
“Bite Back” opens with the lyrics “I feel like garbage,” but quickly strums and drums itself into an anthem that makes me want to jump on my bed in furry slippers. But the song proves Luciano’s versatility and complexity as the track turns vulnerable and she strums along to the lyrics “I am so lonely in this big city / Everybody’s so damn busy.” (Thoughts echoing many seniors’ nerves as they prepare for Chicago, New York City, etc.)
The album’s shortest track, “Apricots,” is acoustic, while Luciano channels an innocent Kanye West on “Freestyle 4,” singing “I wanna kiss you in the middle of a party, I wanna make a scene.”
Diet Cig is an internet band, from Instagram-inspired track “Link in Bio” to taking the words right out of Refinery29’s mouths on “Bath Bombs,” the band has turned itself into GIFs — moving image files — multiple times.
“Swear I’m Good At This” gifts us everything from feminist anthem “Tummy Ache” (“And I’m starting to get real sick of / Trying to find my voice / Surrounded by all these boys”) to relatable digital dread on “Barf Day” (“I use my phone until it dies, just like my plants I can’t keep anything alive”) to homesick coping methods on “Apricots” (“When I’m homesick I go to the supermarket / I buy all the things I think my mom would get”).
Accordingly, this record is one I wish I had sooner. The New York Times touted the album as “feminist pop-punk for all ages.” While I don’t think all tracks are relatable or suitable for a grade schooler, I genuinely wish I had Luciano to guide me through the teenage years. She leads a group of teens in crafting activist signs out of glitter glue in the band’s “Tummy Ache” video and frequently interacts with teenage fans on Twitter, always attempting to find all-ages venues to play at.
Luciano is 21 years old, frequently wears pom-pom accessories and acts like the stage is a trampoline. “Swear I’m Good At This” invites us all onto that same trampoline as we wait for her jumping to gleefully propel us skyward.
Artist: Diet Cig
Album: “Swear I’m Good At This”
Tracks: “Bite Back,” “Maid of the Mist,” “Tummy Ache”
Label: Father Daughter Records
If you like: Frankie Cosmos, Sad13, Cherry Glazerr
Shamrocks: 4.5 out of 5