When I was thirteen years old I only wanted two things. The first was to be kissed. The second was for someone to take me seriously. I wanted someone to tell me that I was doing everything that I was supposed to and that I mattered. In Diet Cig’s new album Swear I’m Good At This, guitarist and frontperson Alex Luciano gets it and she wants you to know that’s she has fucked up her fair share too.
The band’s first full-length record is a high energy tell-all. Luciano and her musical partner in crime Noah Bowman put together an album that has its references down to a T. Bowman’s drums are fast and fueled by an education in pop punk. Luciano’s voice is sugary and her guitar is simple and very jumpy. The beef of Swear I’m Good At This is mostly in the lyrics. Over the course of the album’s brief twelve tracks, we hear Luciano drag her shitty exes, talk about being “fine” (when she clearly is not) and missing her own surprise party. In “Maid Of The Mist,” Luciano speaks of someone who she was so excited to kiss and now can’t imagine being in the same room with. Notably, this song also incorporates a line about not touching with asking. This kind of very accessible feminism is present in basically every track on the album. There’s “Tummy Ache,” the album’s closer Luciano laments that it’s hard to be a punk in a skirt, how she doesn’t need a man to hold her hand. It’s a sentiment that can be read as little cringe worthy and definitely cheesy but it’s ultimately earnest. Diet Cig knows their audience well: the kind of people who need and appreciate the kind of feminism that is palpable and confessional. What they’re doing on this song and throughout the album isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, for the young people in the world that love this band, hearing someone tell you in a very personal way about this kind of stuff is good and important.
What would take this album to the next level is a need for Diet Cig to expand their sound. Luciano has some big openings to really pull off some gnarly shredding but tends to rely on a lot of the same few guitar structures. For a two-piece, Diet Cig has the potential to get really big with the noise that they’re making. They come close a few times: there’s some fun guitar work on “Blob Zombie” and “Barf Day.” Ultimately, Swear I’m Good At This is as simple as it is complicated. One thing is for sure: I wish I had Alex and Noah as musical role models when I was thirteen. I wish I had someone like Alex Luciano to tell me that she gets it.
Swear I’m Good At This is available now.