Album Review: Cigs Inside – BlickyBlam

The Pacific Northwest has long been known as a breeding ground for revolutionary sounds. From the grunge movement of the ’90s to the indie rock rise of the 2000s, this region has consistently delivered fresh takes on established genres. Enter CIGS INSIDE, a Boise, Idaho-based electro-hop trio pushing the boundaries of experimental hip-hop. Their newest offering, BlickyBlam, is no exception. With a return to a more distilled production and a clear focus on lyrical depth, the album signals a bold step in a new direction.

Leading the album’s charge is the single “Don’t Know Where To Start.” Released on September 1st and accompanied by a music video, this track encapsulates the overarching theme of the album. CIGS INSIDE, comprising members ieke, Coleman, and Sstrawberry, takes listeners on a journey from personal chaos to introspection, self-rediscovery, and finally, resurgence. This track, with its catchy hooks and rhythmic undertones, delves deep into the process of rebuilding oneself after a personal downfall.

BlickyBlam starts off with the aptly named “Intro,” a brief yet potent glimpse into the sonic universe the trio has crafted. By the time “Anecdotes” begins, listeners are fully immersed. The raw energy of this track, sets the tone for much of what is to come. “Lunar,” offers a slightly softer, melodic contrast but retains the distinct CIGS INSIDE vibe, merging electro-pop with hip-hop elements.

Tracks like “Actin” and “That Time” showcase the band’s ability to tap into the modern zeitgeist, blending contemporary production with a certain nostalgic flair, reminiscent of ’80s alternative. The fusion of breakcore, R&B, and their clear appreciation for modern rap adds layers of complexity, making BlickyBlam an album that rewards repeated listens.

“High Steppin” and “Apple Pie” further demonstrate the trio’s versatility. While the former is a pulsating, shorter number that seems tailor-made for energetic live performances, the latter is a more extended exploration, possibly touching upon themes of Americana and personal histories.

One of the album’s most intriguing elements is its exploration of emotional extremes. The band doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of human experience, addressing themes of overextension, recklessness, and the subsequent emotional fallout. However, the overall arc of BlickyBlam is one of redemption. Each track serves as a stepping stone on the path from chaos to clarity, from self-doubt to empowerment.

For fans of artists like JPEGMAFIA, Playboi Carti, and 100 Gecs, this album will undoubtedly resonate. Yet, thanks to its unique blend of influences and the trio’s undeniable originality, BlickyBlam is an experience in its own right. There’s a rawness here, a sense of artists pushing their boundaries while staying true to their roots.

In an age where music can often feel overproduced and devoid of genuine emotion, CIGS INSIDE offers a refreshing change of pace. BlickyBlam is an album that feels both intimate and expansive, deeply personal yet universally relatable. With its release on Mishap Records set for September 15th, 2023, BlickyBlam is poised to be one of the standout experimental hip-hop albums of the year. Those of you in the Boise, ID area should check out the album release show planned for the 15th.

To sum it up, BlickyBlam isn’t just an album—it’s an experience, a journey through the human psyche, and a testament to the resilience of the spirit. CIGS INSIDE, with their authentic sound and raw lyrical content, beckons listeners to join them in their exploration, and it’s a trip well worth taking.

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