Rough Trade Albums of the Year 2017 No: 6
After the phenomenal online break-out success of Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby, from the band's debut EP 1, the Brooklyn transplant (originally from El Paso) wanted to project his worldview on to a bigger screen, a broader canvas. That sense of fulfilment is richly felt on Cigarettes After Sex, which unspools like the most achingly romantic of movies: immersive, cohesive and transporting. Swooning in the spirit of influences such as Mazzy Star and Red House Painters, its sumptuous songs of love elevate Cigarettes to the ranks of those acts who create worlds of their own, exciting the most devoted kind of following. Alongside keyboardist Phillip Tubbs, bassist Randy Miller and drummer Jacob Tomsky, the ability of Gonzalez and his band to set a scene and sustain a mood reels you in deeply. On album opener K, a tale of blossoming love etched in tiny details luxuriates over chiming guitars; on the hymn to romantic compulsion of Each Time You Fall in Love, the suspended animation of Angelo Badalamenti's heart-stopping Twin Peaks music is echoed. Sunsetz and the gently lilting Sweet, meanwhile, showcase Gonzalez's ability to weave impressionistic snapshots of romance into melodies that haunt like memories of past loves, all coalescing around his melting vocals.