Partisan Records – PTKF2173-1 (2019) US, EU
That marriage of sound and setting is the heart and soul of Cry, Cigarettes After Sex’s riveting sophomore album. Recorded in a stunning house on the Spanish island of Mallorca, the collection reflects the uneasy beauty, erotic longing, and stark minimalism of the space, all smooth lines and soft light. Energized by the fresh palette and setting, Gonzalez would write songs just minutes before recording them with the band—drummer Jacob Tomsky, bassist Randy Miller, and keyboardist Phillip Tubbs. He engineered and produced the sessions himself, with an emphasis on capturing live performances and exploring the material together in dialogue with the house and with each other.
Clocking in at nine songs, Cry is a compact collection, but its brevity belies its depth. While the band’s sound may be most associated with the romantic pop music of the late 50’s and early 60’s, Gonzalez pushes into more unexpected sonic territory on Cry, reaching back to his childhood in El Paso, Texas, to draw subtle melodic influence from 90’s Tejano stars like Selena and mainstream pop country artists like Shania Twain. Gonzalez pushes himself lyrically on the album, too, tackling sex with the graphic frankness of Henry Miller or Leonard Cohen as he renders unabashed, sometimes explicitly erotic scenes with a casual candor. Writing with a filmmaker’s eye, he captures tiny moments with a rich, cinematic detail that manages to locate the profound within the mundane.