Album Review: Dream Wife – Dream Wife

Album artwork for 'Dream Wife' album by Dream Wife

Dream Wife go from “power trio” to empowering trio with the release of their eponymous debut album.

The London-based, British/Icelandic trio of Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals), Alice Go (guitar and vocals) and Bella Podpadec (bass and vocals) formed Dream Wife in 2015 as a college art school project. Since then they have released two EPs, sold out various venues across the UK and Europe and lived up to their reputation as one of the most thrilling and ferocious live bands around. “We’re a power trio”, says Go “There’s a crazy energy between us”.

Their eponymous debut album (released on 26 January via Lucky Number) takes this energy and packages it up into eleven songs – all hovering around the three-minute mark – that pack one hell of a punch. It opens with literal screamer ‘Lets Make Out’ with Mjöll daring “Are you too shy?” over a growling riff. This brand of ridiculously catchy indie-punk is the backbone of this record in a perfect translation of their raucous live sets. ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ builds beautifully from the playful “hey hey hey” backing vocals to the roar of the chorus, while the visceral longing of “All I wanna do is taste you” rips through ‘Taste’.

These aren’t just youthful anthems – there is a deceptive maturity in the lyrics and arrangements, including nods to bands like Blondie, The Strokes and Sleater-Kinney. ‘Fire’ blends garage rock and pop with a punchy riff and epic chorus backed by swooning vocals like a chorus of angels. On ‘Somebody’ – where the heartbeat rhythm from the drum complements the racing new wave riff – Mjöll sings “I am not my body, I’m somebody”. Delivered with Mjöll’s sugar-frosted vocals it’s a powerful feminist statement without denying feminine vulnerability. ‘Spend The Night’ is a demonstration of being up-front and taking control, leaving nothing to chance – “Would you like to spend the night together? I can’t read your mind”.

The album closes with the ultimate gratification of ‘F.U.U.’ This track sounds like an initiation into their gang – “Queens, queens, queens, everywhere I look…I spy with my little eye bad bitches, Dream Wife for life”. If you’ve listened, sang along, danced and screamed up until this point – as far as Mjöll, Go and Podpadec are concerned – you’re in. Dream Wife have managed to harness their creativity, passion and fire, then hand this directly to the listener – until you’re struggling to find an outlet for the rush you get from these potent songs.

It may be fast, furious and fun but this debut album is also a confident, clever and controlled statement of intent from a band that has undoubtedly more to give. At a time when what’s happening in the world can make us all feel powerless, let the “crazy energy” of ‘Dream Wife’ empower you.

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