Do You Wonder About Me? Is the latest release from New York’s Diet Cig. This album is a step up from its predecessors, with more depth and clarity in terms of production. A departure from 2017’s Swear I’m Good At This’ lo-fi character. Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman explore several new styles to expand their songwriting, with several nods to emo and NYC punk, while still delivering their signature anthemic pop-rock sound.
The first three tracks feature solid pop tunes that can at times be campy or twee, which perfectly compliments Luciano’s heart-on-your-sleeve wit and charm. “Thriving” is a break up song with equal parts vulnerability and snark as she addresses an ex-lover that: “I will never hate myself the way you want me to”. In “Who Are You” she wrestles with trust issues over dancy melodies, lush vocals and tight drums.
There is slight dissonance to the pop-rock radio friendliness of “Night Terrors”, especially in a song about dreading the monster at the end of your bed. Thankfully, there’s a reprise at the end of the album that addresses this with atmospheric synths and a nightmarish vocal filter, giving it the creepy vibe that it so deserves.
“Priority Mail” changes things up and signals a whole shift for the rest of the album. This piano ballad where their emo influence shines. I would have wished it were longer, but the unresolved nature of the song fits the theme of missing someone who’s miles away and not being able to get to them.
“Broken Body” dials the volume up to eleven with walls of distorted noise and restless pounding drums, a fitting accompaniment to a song that shares the frustrations of being sick and not being able to go outside to do what you want to. In “Flash Flood” everything goes out the window. Diet Cig lets loose in this blistering tribute to NYC punk. A cathartic conduit for Luciano to vent out: “I will scream it from the rooftop / That I am worthy of love.”
Do You Wonder About Me finds Diet Cig solidifying their pop-rock sensibilities while graciously dipping into other styles, possibly hinting at the duo’s direction in the future. Their improved production has really shown their confidence in switching things up. Unmoored by their DIY beginnings, we might just be seeing the beginnings of what they’re truly capable of.