Perfect Opening Line
When I am making the sometimes arduous decision whether or not to buy a novel, the very first thing I do is read the first line and the first page. If they grab my interest, I’m sold. A common process I imagine, and I one I adopted from my father. There is some absolutely sterling opening lines. Orwell’s 1984: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Camus’ The Stranger/Outsider: “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I can’t be sure.” Palahniuk’s Fight Club: “Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.”
The opening gambit of Diet Cig’s debut EP Over Easy is equally effective and striking, although perhaps a bit more light-hearted: “I don’t have any kitchenware, but I can walk ’round in my underwear”, begins ‘Breathless’. This wonderful and playful mixture of earnestness, and humour is a feature of the entire EP. Drawing the joyful racket created by the duo together into a noise that is both hilarious, angry and touching, the duo’s forthrightness is Diet Cig’s most affecting and endearing quality. It is, I suspect, why their first two singles ‘Scene Sick‘, and ‘Harvard‘ have been so warmly received by the indie community en masse.
Elsewhere the lyrics and music are no less brash, and playful. It complements the music perfectly. Witness the two minute whirlwind ‘Pool Boyz’ and its refrain of, “Blow your nose, take a shit”, which plays right into my desire for more songs about bowel movements. Proceedings take a more tender musical turn for ‘Scene Sick’ with the jangle emphasised and fuzz minimised, but the lyrics are more biting, and bitter. “Come on take my hand, fuck all your romance. I just want to dance”, singer and song writer Alex Luciano notifies the object of her ire, her tone both celebratory, and angry.
The crowning achievement of the EP is the closing song, and second single, ‘Harvard’. A pretty simple three chord blast, the track manages to take all that came before it and up the ante. It is probably the most forceful the duo get on the EP, chronicling the narrator’s break-up with an Ivy League student. It’s bitter, unreasonable, and angry. Luciano howls, “Fuck your Ivy League sweater” over the pounding drums and jagged guitar. And yet, it remains a defiant declaration. There is no submissive. Ultimately, this whole EP serves as the opening sentence to Diet Cig’s career. On this evidence, we are in for one hell of a novel.
Over Easy is out February 24th on cassette and digitally via Father/Daughter Records.