Reviewed by: Max Miller
If you’re not from New York and you didn’t go to college there, chances are you only know about the small town of New Paltz thanks to Quarterbacks, the twee-pop trio who write short, hooky lo-fi odes to friendship, heartbreak, love and the quotidian aspects of life.
Diet Cig also hail from New Paltz, and their approach is also quite similar. Of the five songs on the duo’s debut EP Over Easy, only two break the two-minute mark, and even then just barely. Singer/guitarist Alex Luciano writes no-frills pop-punk tunes that often utilize a simple-but-effective loud-soft-LOOOUD dynamic, her vocals alternating between a beatific coo and a full-on hounds-of-hell yell. Drummer Noah Bowman plays along with these tunes the only way one conceivably could: Fast.
But here’s the problem. While Diet Cig competently execute all the necessary techniques to make a record like this, they come off as nearly indistinguishable in tone from Quarterbacks, Radiator Hospital, Swearin’ and literally dozens of other bands out there. That might not hurt them, though. Bands like Diet Cig write songs that exist to be shared between friends like love letters or inside jokes. They write songs that save you in the middle of the night when you’ve been crying your eyes out and you just need to connect to some semblance of real humanity in that moment. They write songs people shout along to at basement shows, that people put on mixtapes, and that people play acoustic covers of on Soundcloud as they embark on their very own careers as lo-fi artists. What Diet Cig lack in originality, they make up for in heart. Luciano may be “sick of hearing about your scene,” as she sings on “Scene Sick,” but within the scene Diet Cig fall into, they have all the right tools at their disposal to make a connection, which is all that really matters.