Diet Cig’s music hits the nail on the head when it comes to mixing happy-go-lucky pop-punk (which is more pop than punk), and the duo’s latest record boxes up their energetic romps in a cohesive (if overlong) record.
However, if there’s one criticism the duo can’t escape it’s that of being overly similar in their music. Perhaps it’s that they’ve hit the aesthetic they were aiming for too bluntly, but despite the bittersweet vocals of singer Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman’s crash-heavy drumming, it’s hard to escape the fact that most of Diet Cig’s material blends into itself, so that most of Swear I’m Good At This’ tracks seem, if not unfinished, then at least unfulfilled.
That said, there are some great little tracks on this record. “Tummy Ache” blends simple and to-the-point lyricism with straightforward riffs which are unabashedly infectious. Luciano’s vocal delivery only adds to the track’s melodic strength. And although it’s much less barbed than many of its more earnestly punk counterparts, there’s an abundance of charisma that permeates tracks like “Barf Day” and “Sixteen.” And despite their looking-over-my-shoulder-at-my-youth stance, the tracks manage to stay away from cynicism fairly easily and lean over into the traditional narrative territory of the acoustic singer-songwriter genre.
The best track on the record, or perhaps simply the most charismatic, is undoubtedly “Maid of the Mist.” Mostly because it follows one main melodic line which weaves itself with varying severity throughout the two-minute track. If there’s one song that’s a great representation of the rest of the content on the record, in its easy-listening, danceable yet still introspective and instrumentally-tense delivery, it’s “Maid of the Mist.” Along with “Apricots,” which throws all the record’s anxiety away in favour of a more tame delivery that’s just as sweet as everything else on Swear I’m Good at This.