Dec. 13, 2017 | Bob Boilen — This comes close to the quietest Tiny Desk Concert we’ve ever had. The music Greg Gonzalez makes with his longtime bandmate Phillip Tubbs as Cigarettes After Sex is hushed. The common thread in these songs is minimalism, heard in both Greg’s guitar and Philip’s synth, that lay just under Greg Gonzalez’s barely audible, somewhat spoken singing. Yet, somehow, this sound that barely exists holds together because of the strong melodies in these songs. I find I sing them to myself over and over again.
“K.,” the opening track to this Tiny Desk Concert – and the opening cut to the band’s eight year-long awaited debut album – is especially memorable. The lyrics are simple and easy to remember: “Kristen, come right back/I’ve been waiting for you to slip back in bed/When you light the candle.”
In addition to minimal music, the words to these songs are stripped to their essence and it’s that directness and lack of mystery I find attractive. It makes each note and each word seem to count for more than they might otherwise. And despite the light of day and the office environment of the Tiny Desk Concert, the smoky bedroom laden songs work, maybe even, in some ways, better than in a club, where just the chatter of a crowd can drown out this gentle music.
So, dim the lights, maybe light a candle and bliss out.
“Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby”
Greg Gonzalez, Phillip Tubbs
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Alyse Young; Production Assistant: Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR
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