And so we have X’s, another lean collection which, like previous Cigarettes After Sex records, is also characterized by the place these songs were recorded. There’s the El Paso college stairwell for the first EP, the Brooklyn rehearsal space for the first album, the courtyard in a house in Mallorca, Spain for Cry, and now the home at the foot of the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, where Gonzalez lived with his then-partner. While initial demos were captured live at the Bootleg Theater in August 2020, with longstanding bandmates Jacob Tomsky (drums) and Randall Miller (bass), the lion-share was recorded in a small bedroom, over the course of six live sessions from 2021 to 2022. With the addition of Jeff Kite on keys, the intimate spirit was the antithesis of a big studio vibe: the mood was relaxed and open and afterwards they’d hang out, listen to music, and drink wine.

While continuing to observe classic pop song structures, Gonzalez has moved away from the prior sonic touchstones of the 50s and 60s, finding himself now drawn to a 70s/80s slow dance. But in typical Cigarettes style, these influences are subtle — in the drums regimented to a click, in the beat and bop of “Baby Blue Movie,” and in the overall energy akin to disco ball-refracted tears on the dance floor.

And then there’s Gonzalez’s constant throughline: his deft use of reverb and space, and his soothing, androgynous vocals, which he laid down in the Spring/Summer of 2023, when the singer was still deep in his grief. Instead of waiting for the healing balm of perspective, Gonzalez pressed on the bruise and harnessed the hurt.

29.10.2024 @ Forest National, Brussels SOLD OUT

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