Pop music has long been about teen angst, social anxiety and sexual confusion. And Brooklyn two-piece Diet Cig — touring behind their hotly anticipated (and, after getting panned by influential music site Pitchfork, pretty divisive) debut album, Swear I’m Good At This — effectively takes you right back to a place of paralyzing puberty and all its related self-consciousness.
“Can you tell that my shoes are too big on my feet,” sings vocalist Alex Luciano from album track “Bite Back.” “Seeing you makes my boots so damn heavy,” she continues. If you’ve passed this period in your life, you might not want to go back there. However, one might argue we never truly grow out of these kinds of worries and concerns.
But if you’re still in the muck of growing up, I can understand the band’s appeal, particularly for young girls. Musically, the guitar/drums lineup is surprisingly starter-kit for such critical darlings: chugging and distorted power chords, clumsy and fumbling pop-punk percussion, and Luciano’s voice — at best emotive, at worst a little whiny, and overall pretty tuneless.
On top of teen angst, pop music should be about great songs, and it’s here that Diet Cig misses.
Nevertheless, Good At This closes with what might be Diet Cig’s best tune, “Tummy Ache.” “Trying to find my voice surrounded by all boys,” Luciano sings, and later: “It’s hard to be a punk girl wearing a skirt.”
We’re not all punk girls, of course, but we all have our — literal and metaphorical — skirts to bear.
Diet Cig plays with Seattle’s Lisa Prank 7 pm Wednesday, April 26, at The Boreal; $10, all-ages. — Will Kennedy