Diet Cig - Swear I'm Good At This (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Diet Cig

Swear I'm Good At This (2017)


Diet Cig is a young band in every sense of the word. The twenty-one-year-old singer/guitarist Alex Luciano hasn’t been playing guitar with others all that long. The duo, which includes drummer Noah Bowman, has been around roughly three years. Over Easy, a five-track EP released in 2015, catapulted the band into the indie/emo zeitgeist making Swear I'm Good At This anxiously anticipated. Luckily, Diet Cig is up for the challenge. Luciano is a natural songwriter. Her songs could soundtrack every high school/college experience for emotional tattooed kids everywhere. Her songs are detailed yet pull from familiarities. Opener “Sixteen” is about Luciano dating a boy similarly named, however, it reflects on how unpleasant dating itself can be.

Luciano is no doubt the spotlight. Bowman, a perfectly capable drummer, gamely backs the simplicity of these songs and follows her loyally. Her best moments are the ones that mix growth and positivity, or at the very least, the results of shitty circumstances. On “Maid of the Mist” she turns “I’m fine. You’re alive. You’ll be okay in sometime,” into a chorus. Part of the time it sounds like she believes herself but then a few tracks later she sings about being, “only twenty-one years old [and] drinking alone.” Similarly, “Blob Zombie” sees her yelling, “I wanna be the best at this, but I don’t wanna get out of bed.” There is a constant wrestling with how hard progress can be to actually achieve.

All twenty-nine minutes of Swear I’m Good At This are spent painting Luciano’s clear and distinct perspective. The one-minute, five-second “Apricots”—reminiscent of early Waxahatchee—shows a stripped down Luciano doesn’t mean a vulnerable one. On highlight "Tummy Ache," she sings, “I’m just a kid, a girl, a runt, and I'm starting to get real sick, of trying to find my voice, surrounded by all boys.” The song defines Diet Cig. Because while the angle is clear, they are still developing. And that’s fine. That’s what your twenties are about. Much like peer Frankie Cosmos, the sugarcoated uneasiness works, especially when done well. Swear I’m Good At This is a solid debut. One that’s surely just the beginning for Diet Cig.