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Bubble Tea and Cigarettes take road trip to "Santa Monica"





Bubble Tea and Cigarettes take road trip to "Santa Monica"

In keeping with their name, Bubble Tea and Cigarettes capture the enduring pleasures of the most fleeting of pleasures. On the two singles they released in 2020 the bedroom pop combo were just as likely to be found in the kitchen unpacking their latest comestibles with dreamy elegies dedicated to eating empanadas at 5am or about ordering fried chicken from the takeout joint downstairs in the middle of the night and the inevitable reflections upon one’s own mortality (“people all die soon”) provoked by such activities. 

Newly signed to Madrid-based Elefant Records, the duo’s latest single ventures a bit further afield from their local bodega for inspiration, namely all the way to the Left Coast and ocean-adjacent “Santa Monica” in particular where the song and the sumptuous shot-on-location video (dir: Shicong Zhu) depict an amorous yet hesitant couple cruising down the “violet street” of a purple-hued Pacific Coast Highway shooting home movies and sucking on candy ring pops and smoking cigarettes while pondering the question “is this love ended or it never started?” before ending up at an sparsely populated amusement park straight out of Carnival of Souls and cavorting together in slo-mo illuminated only by the lights of the ferris wheel and the colored flames of hand-held sparklers before our narrator is finally left “lost in love” waking up alone in a parking lot as her partner speeds off on a motorcycle.

The languid longing and overall slowcore/sadcore/dreampop vibes of "Santa Monica" are ably assisted by twangy “Duane Eddy on Xanax” guitar, lugubrious strings and mournful castanets (two words you won't see together elsewhere) with vocals that sound as if they’re emanating from a wormhole to another dimension more than from a human body and it all exerts an appropriate gravitational pull. BT&C is comprised of Andi Wang and Ruinan Zhang and while I’m not sure which one of them is “Bubble Tea” and which one is “Cigarettes” it's no matter because together they capture the sugar-and-nicotine rush and subsequent comedown inherent in the combo and I’m guessing that they only left “weed gummies” off from their name because it got to be too long. So grab a jumbo straw and suck down some taro covered tapioca globules in musical form in between drags on a Pall Mall assuming this is up your alley. (Jason Lee)

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