“Fuck sorry, fuck please will you so kindly start again? Now put your money where your mouth is”, are the opening words on London-based Dream Wife’s second album. This is the perfect statement of intent for what is to come.
Coming just two years after their debut, So When You Gonna… ups the ante from that excellent first release. I’ve read many things in recent weeks describing the band as Punk. Sure, they tackle difficult topics in their songs, there are three members, and the album delivers 11 songs in just 41 minutes but labelling them punk gives an impression of a sonic pigeonhole.
The band are way more than that label, take ‘Hasta La Vista’ for example. This is a poppy slice of perfection, beautiful clear vocal from Icelandic singer Rakel Mjöll, and a jangly refrain which expands into an earworm of a chorus. Or ‘Temporary’ whose upbeat sound and gorgeous vocal belie its subject matter of miscarriage. The band are not backed by a major label, the band are all women, and the album was entirely produced by a womxn; Italian record producer, mixer and recording engineer Marta Salogni. Nothing sounds punk, except the attitude!
But what’s in a label anyway? What Dream Wife do is nothing musically innovative or new, but their album comes at a time where what they do and say gives a voice to many.
There is definitely a Yeah Yeah Yeahs vibe throughout, songs like ‘Validation’ and ‘Homesick’ sound like Sleeper and Blondie which I know are female-led bands, but this isn’t a lazy comparison. It is fair to say they sound equally like so many male-led bands too. As they said in an interview with NME, “Just because we’ve got vaginas, it doesn’t make us a ‘Girl Band’”, and the truth is they are simply a great band who now have two excellent albums under their wing. Whilst their gender is irrelevant, the message of don’t let anything stop you and their unapologetic style most definitely isn’t.
I cannot recommend this album enough. It is crammed full of attitude, perfect choruses, exacting guitar riffs, and, “I want to hear that again” songs. So When You Gonna… is definitely worth a place in your music collection.