Music Reviews
Do You Wonder About Me?

Diet Cig Do You Wonder About Me?

(Frewnchkiss Records) Buy it from Insound Rating - 6/10

On the lovely opening song of Diet Cig’s latest album, vocalist/guitarist Alex Luciano announces the album’s title as a rhetorical question. Do You Wonder About Me? is the duo’s second album of emotional contradictions, hushed harmonies, and sharply delicate guitar work. It’s a solid continuation and improvement from 2017’s Swear I’m Good At This, even if it still lacks a heftiness that could serve it well. From the solid pop rock singalong Who Are You? to the rockin’ headrush of Flash Flood, Luciano’s songwriting feels more developed than ever before. If you are reflexively put off by the group’s tweeness, the sophomore album combats a potential sugar rush with softer moments and genuine melancholy, despite a handful of songs relying on the group’s comfort zone of sweetness.

While the comfort zone is used to solid effect here, the album is at its most interesting when the sadness in the subtext rises to the surface. Take the brief Priority Mail, which is constructed around drifting piano chords and Luciano’s voice—and uses that meandering texture to properly render the longing of a line like “I sent you a package to say I love you, I live too far away to visit like I used to.” Although it’s just 53 seconds, the song makes an impact. With only nine songs, many of them under three minutes, the album’s snappy brevity is one of its strongest assets. Gloominess punctuates the scrappy Makeout (Interlude), continuing the album’s theme of depression in snippets. When the interlude ends on the note of “If you wanted me to say I miss you, I do too,” the album reaches its peak.

Ultimately, the project is still a little lightweight, if not a solid effort. Songs like Worth the Wait and Staring into the Sun are both perfect simplifications of this album’s two modes. The former is a hazy, burning song about longing or simmering emotions with guitar tones that don’t quite fit the material, while the later is a solid pop rock song with a natural dose of Diet Cig cuteness. While there’s truthful feeling packed into satisfying bursts and some great songs, there’s nothing here that’s groundbreaking. For Diet Cig, that’s more than okay.