MAGNET’s #10 Album Of 2017: Cigarettes After Sex’s “Cigarettes After Sex”

Quiet-storm guitar rock can be a beautiful thing—just think of the languid, deep-blue mood pieces of yore created by Mazzy Star and Mojave 3. But Greg Gonzalez didn’t sit and stew in El Paso, Texas, for eight damn years so that he could create a replicant strain of ’90s sadcore specimen Red House Painters. We have every reason to believe that Gonzalez aimed instead for more sensual, shiver-inducing Sade territory, and the evidence is all over the self-titled debut by Cigarettes After Sex. Gonzalez doesn’t just turn a vocal melody; he shapes them into tendrils of ecstasy and longing. And true to the band’s name, these songs are inches-deep sex jams about sleeping and pillow-talking with so many women. Opener “K.” is devoted to Krista, Krystal or Kristin, depending on which verse you’re listening to. Given the rather mannered, diving-bell acoustics and reverbed-to-death guitars of these leisurely paced songs, a little bit of salaciousness seems like a tonic rather than a tasteless gesture. When Gonzalez sings, “You wanna go/Where the girls are young and dumb/And hot as fuck,” it doesn’t read as irony or a playful rejoinder to propriety. It’s a straight shot of desire. —Matthew Fritch