Cigarettes After Sex: Ambient Pop or Slowcore?

According to the band’s press packet, Cigarettes After Sex is “an ambient pop group based out of Brooklyn, NY.” Isn’t “ambient pop” an oxymoron? Ambient music is supposed to fade into the background, create a mood without calling attention to itself, while pop music aspires to be unignorable, to get stuck in your head.

I think the genre listed on the band’s Facebook page is more appropriate, “slow motion”:

Plus it echoes the label of the 1990s microgenre the band’s sound also evokes, slowcore.

Slowcore crept in this petty pace of Galaxie 500:

No surprise given the band’s name, Codeine played at a drugged, narcotized pace:

Most of Bedhead‘s songs moved at the same glacial pace as other slowcore bands and the vocals always dragged, . . .

. . . but a few of them featured dynamic shifts not unlike Pavement’s as the slow and soft strumming grew faster and louder:

The Velvet Underground, particularly its third album, obviously resonates throughout slowcore. Both Galaxie 500 (“Ceremony”) and Bedhead (“Disorder”) covered Joy Division. Codeine dug deeper for its covers, MX-80 Sound and Unrest.

Perversely, Cigarettes After Sex covered REO Speedwagon, . . .

. . . but slowed the AOR anthem to a crawl.


Thanks, Thom, for calling this band to my attention.