Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Album Review :: Dream Wife - Dream Wife
January 26 2018 (Lucky Number)
Words: Richard O’Hagan
For a band which started out as a bit of a joke, Dream Wife aren’t doing too badly. Originally formed as an arty project at Brighton University, it was an idea which backfired in the best possible way when the trio discovered that, actually, they were quite good at this music thing.
Extensive gigging, tours supporting Sleigh Bells and The Kills, and a raucous performance at SXSW later, they now release their debut album, eleven songs and just over half-an-hour of brash, punky, shoutiness, underpinned by strong lyrics and a determined sense of identity.
There’s a certain relentlessness about their creation. Singer Rakel Mjoll’s voice is at times urgent, at times strident, and at other times light as a feather. Nowhere is this more evident than on ‘Somebody’, as she sternly lectures that “I am not my body, I’m somebody” over Alice Go’s trademark chopping riff. Current single ‘Hey, Heartbreaker’ is perhaps the poppiest song on here, with shouty backing vocals and even handclaps thrown into the mix. Indeed, Dream Wife are far from afraid of the odd musical cliché, chucking some ‘woo-woo’s into ‘Kids’ and a whole lot of punk attitude into the bratty ‘F.U.U.’
Dream Wife are at their very best, though, when they harness that aggression. Opener ‘Let’s Make Out’ is a combination of angsty and angry, Bella Popadec’s bouncy bassline underpinning a song taught with uncertainty. ‘Fire’, meanwhile, is The Breeders sanding the raw edges off of Kenickie, a promising sign of musical development yet to come.
If you wanted to be really picky, you could argue that this record is a bit too relentless, a bit too lacking in darkness and light. On the other hand, that’s pretty much the point of Dream Wife – full on, demonstrative and pretty much unstoppable. More power to them.