There’s a calming effect to Cigarette‘s music. Over the course of an LP (2013’s Gush) and a tape (2015’s Chapel Sounds), the quartet—comprised of Drew Hagelin, Evan Napala, Richard Howard, and Jonathan Howard—has emerged as D.C.’s most tranquil band, composing gauzy, lush pop songs that feel like they were created in a perpetual state of hypnagogia.
“Warm Shadows,” the A-side of the band’s upcoming 7-inch—its first release on local label Sister Polygon Records—is no exception. It’s a quiet epic anchored by lush, warm vocal harmonies and dreamy reverb that wraps around you like a cozy blanket. With subtle strings and brass instrumentals to give the song a sense of delicate depth and soul, “Warm Shadows” almost sounds like a tune unearthed from a bygone era. “There were cues taken from some Marvin Gaye material that Motown released in the ’60s,” Richard Howard tells Washington City Paper. The song, which was recorded by Kevin Erickson at Swim Two Birds studio, was meant to sound like a soul record, he says.
And like most soul songs from the ’60s, “Warm Shadows” is a love song. Napala says the song stems from a haiku he wrote for an old friend he recently reconnected with after a long time. Napala explains:
We had just met up after being disconnected for a five year span and there I met his soon to be wife. As I watched the love recycle between the two, I couldn’t help but reminisce about our past and the parallels that followed to this day. Myself also being in love, I felt harmonious warmth among the couple. The night evoked memories of our days as teenage obscurities, pessimistic on life and relationship yet both truly aware of the splendor that naturally surrounds us. I’ve always liked to think of people in a planetary or astral manner. Within a vast nothingness we all find ourselves viciously spinning among one another. Orbiting certain suns can either have a cold, scorching, or nurturing effect to one’s terrestrial well-being. Ideally we find balance with the suns we surround ourselves with, finding growth and vitality within our course. “Warm Shadows” is about that insignificant solar affection in the universe.
Cigarette’s “Warm Shadows b/w Love’s Mirror” 7-inch comes out July 15 on Sister Polygon Records. You can preorder it here.