The New York-based duo of guitarist/vocalist Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman, Diet Cig, have garnered a reputation for incredibly fun shows, full of raw rock music and an always welcoming, positive environment. Their debut LP, Swear I’m Good At This, bundles all of that energy into twelve, rapid-fire tracks that clock in at just under a half hour. It’s a record that builds on the foundation they laid on their fantastic EP, Over Easy.
On the first track, “Sixteen”, you get a great sense of what Swear I’m Good at This is all about. It recalls teenage awkwardness and dating someone with the same name, and musically it explodes into a thunderous rocker. With tracks like that, and titles such as “Link In Bio”, “Barf Day”, and “Blob Zombie”, it’s obvious Diet Cig unabashedly embrace their youth. “Maid Of The Mist” is a real standout track with a little keyboard and driving drumbeat over Luciano’s power chords, before slowing down into an unexpected stunner of an ending.
“Barf Day” is one of Diet Cig’s best tracks. It’s another song built on the frustration of dealing with relationships, and also a bit of a “f-off”. The “I just want to have ice cream on my birthday” refrain is guaranteed to get stuck in your head, too. “Bath Bomb” is one of the slower tracks on Swear I’m Good At This, singing “In these days I could stay in the bath ‘til I decay” before the song takes off in a huge way. “Blob Zombie” is where Swear I’m Good At This’ title comes from. It’s a track about wanting to play music, or be social, but also wanting to sleep in.
Diet Cig saved “Tummy Ache” for last on this record. It definitely contains some of the record’s most important lyrics, as the duo focus on sexism in the music scene. “My stomach hurts, ‘cause it’s hard to be a punk while wearing a skirt”, sings Luciano. This theme is heard throughout the record, but it’s finally brought front and center on this one track, and it gives the whole record this huge, incredibly important ending that will stick with listeners.
Swear I’m Good At This is an important record. It’s a loud, proud statement of feminism that feels truly authentic. It’s not the most complex album musically, but it has an energy about it that tackles some of the complex issues facing our society in a way that is surprisingly accessible. It’s a punk-rock record at heart, and it skirts the pop/punk line quite a bit. What truly puts it over as a punk record is the attitude of the band. Luciano creates pins and other trinkets, which she sells to raise money for charities like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. In other words, they wear their hearts on their sleeves, and it makes everything on Swear I’m Good At This seem even more heartfelt.
We caught Diet Cig at their record release show in Brooklyn this past Friday with T-Rextacy, and pictures of the incredibly fun show are included below. Check them out!
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