WYLDEST, the lyrically acute, gloriously dreampop project of Londoner Zoe Mead, has followed up her intelligent self-empowerment single drop from last month, “Hollow” (which you should so check out too) with “Beggar”, a chiming, nocturnal study that draws on that guitar swoon and glide of early Lush and wraps it up with her vocal verdancy en route to pure guitar pop nirvana. Tune.
As the accompanying video also illustrates – and you can wipe the blear from your eyes and come awake in that below – it is conversely, dreampop for dreamlessness – it’s an exploration of insomnia and that weird 3am hyperstate of over-thinking. .
Zoe says: “’Beggar’ was written at a time when my insomnia got particularly bad after I’d read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.
“I was thinking about a theory he’d referenced called ‘the prisoner’s dilemma’; a paradox where two people are acting in their own interests for a mutual outcome. It’s related to evolution in the sense that we all enter into relationships with others based on our own decision as to whether it will provide a safe environment for our genes.
“’Beggar’ is about survival of the fittest, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine stuff – like we protect and love those who protect and love us – as a mutually beneficial thing.”
Musically and thematically, Monthly Friend develops from 2019’s Dream Chaos with shimmer and lyrical articulacy. She’s not afraid to shine a light on any number of themes, from the anthropological to the small- and big-P political, all couched in acute melodicism.
It’s an album about womanhood, the physicality of the gender; the ideas and concepts of it; its limitations and its advantages.
“Throughout the album, I visit these feelings through metaphors, largely related to nature,” Zoe says.
“I always found it really ironic that women commonly get compared to fruit. Peaches, for example, get over-ripe and people throw them away, discard them, when in fact they are probably at their most delicious and nutritious.
“A lot of the time, women are unfortunately subject to a similar fate. When they are young, they are sexualised and therefore their actual intellectual and creative worth can be overlooked.
“As they age, they get disregarded almost completely, and for what? Because they aren’t as useful to men anymore? Perhaps. But why does our ability to reproduce have to dictate our worth? It doesn’t and it shouldn’t.”
Zoe is also looking forward to taking her musical vision out on a socially distanced eight-date British headlining tour in the spring before joining up with Lanterns of the Lake in October; the dates are as follows.
Friday, May 21st, Manchester, Factory251;
Saturday, May 22nd, Liverpool, Grand Central;
Sunday, May 23rd, Stockton-on-Tees, Georgian Theatre;
Monday, May 24th, Birmingham, Castle & Falcon;
Thursday, May 27th, London, Oslo Hackney;
Friday, May 28th, Bristol, Bristol Beacon;
Saturday, May 29th, Southampton, Joiners;
Sunday, May 30th; Brighton, Hope & Ruin.
Wyldest’s Monthly Friend will be released by Hand in Hive on May 28th digitally and on vinyl – you can order yours from the label’s Bandcamp page, here; it’s also available to pre-order on limited edition recycled vinyl along with a signed print via Record Store.