Review – “Cigarettes For Optimists” – No Aloha

reviewed by Laura Stanley

Montreal band No Aloha has been putting out releases ever summer pretty much since they started. Although their latest EP Cigarettes for Optimists came out in March, I’m listening to it during the first hot day in (probably) six months and so it’s hard to not still associate summer with No Aloha.

Throughout their releases No Aloha have cruised their way back and forth between various rock hybrids (surf, pop, garage, psych) and even dabbled in post-punk waters on last year’s EP Sway. Doing what the band does best, No Aloha throw a whole bunch of different styles at us on Cigarettes for Optimists.

Opener “Spring Fling” is a steady, pretty chill, garage-rock track for when you’re heading out for the day after receiving a “morning!” text from your crush. “Requiem,” is a much more lively, guitar driven number. There’s a whiney guitar riff near the beginning, the guitars mellow out around the middle section, and then they fuzz up at the end – a tasty treat for guitar lovers.

On the flip-side of the EP, the title track offers a reflective pause. Complete with some playful “doo-doo-doos,” “Cigarettes for Optimists” is an acoustic, Americana, track about how selfish we all can be and how easy it is to ignore the bad stuff. After the brief venture into new sonic territory, No Aloha close their EP with, “Language Arts,” a dramatic slow jam. It feels like No Aloha is stretching every note out as if mirroring a long inhale and then exhale, expelling all of their worries and anxieties.

We are welcomed to Cigarettes for Optimists with words of sunshine – “The sun has it’s tune as it’s light fills the room” – and the sun doesn’t set.

Top Track: “Requiem”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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