Love songs have long been the bread and butter of popular music. They have also shaped our collective cultural understanding of romance through the ages, providing us with a shared love vocabulary, so to speak. But does that mean pop musicians are responsible for keeping romance alive through their songwriting.

“I don’t think writers will have to try to keep songs about love alive in that way; it’ll simply happen on its own,” Greg Gonzalez tells New Times. For the crooning mastermind of Cigarettes After Sex, being an essential worker on the front line of romance is less a duty than a calling. “Love has been a defining factor in my life, so in a way, I can’t really help writing about it since it genuinely captures my interest the most.”
In a frank appraisal of the genius of Cigarettes After Sex, the substance of Gonzalez’s love songs matters just as much as their style. Nevertheless, the band has been primarily defined by its abundance of style thanks to a signature sonic aesthetic right on the nose by any baby-making music standard.As its name rightly suggests, the band’s smokey, reverb-drenched sound evokes all the tender intimacy of two lovers basking in the warmth of a post-coital embrace. If the song “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak was a music genre, then Cigarettes After Sex would be its most masterful proponent on the indie scene today.