Dream Wife’s debut album is a perfectly executed meditation on what it means to be a woman in a modern age and an exploration of the complexity of that. The London based trio are favourites at Girls Against for a reason and their long awaited first album proves precisely why- at its heart it is a phenomenal love-letter to powerful, strong women and a direct challenge to patriarchal restrictions, and proves that, as they express on ‘F.U.U’, Dream Wife are indeed for life.
‘Dream Wife’ as an album is difficult to define- it transcends genre boundaries in its seamless combination of the best parts of pop with unapologetic punk attitudes. Citing influences as disparate as The Cribs and The Spice Girls, it’s clear to see how they’ve crafted their eclecticism. The band have commented on how in making the album, they attempted to ‘capture what we do onstage’, and this shines through each of the 11 tracks; they put on a spectacularly engaging live performance, and it is definitely reflected in their recorded tracks, which possess a lot of obvious pent-up emotion which encompasses the album entirely.
Though there’s a distinct Dream Wife feel to the album as a whole, it definitely develops down different avenues and many of the songs are sonically worlds apart, whilst still capturing that effortless cool vibe and the self-exploration which is quintessentially Dream Wife. Some standout tracks include my personal favourite, ‘Love Without Reason’, which is a dreamlike ode to falling head over heels with someone. The song encapsulates a yearning for innocence, particularly in the line ‘let’s be kids and fall in love’, and unearths a softer side to the band.
The opening song of the album, ‘Let’s Make Out’, epitomises Dream Wife: setting frontwoman Rakel Mjöll’s distinguishing vocals against a backdrop of some incredible thrashing guitar riffs from the dream team that is Alice Go on guitar and Bella Podpadec on bass, turning the song into a perfect representation of both their sound and ethos. Perhaps the most important song on their album, ‘Somebody’ presents a really powerful message in its repetition of ‘I am not my body, I am somebody’. Taking a furious stance against victim blaming and rape culture, Dream Wife provide an ultra-empowering theme that carries on throughout. It’s fiery and old school, and the kind of music that is essential right now.
Dream Wife have proven in their debut album that they are undoubtedly a really important band- their music evokes a sense of sisterly solidarity that is nothing less than vital given the current political climate, and their unashamed embrace of femininity and womanhood is really refreshing and powerful. There’s a lot of pressure around perfecting a debut album, and it is inarguable that Dream Wife have done just that, combining all the far-flung influences possible to create an album that delves into so many different genres and emotions. There’s the infectious glee that ‘Fire’ evokes, and the angsty intensity of ‘Act My Age’- such musical diversity is a feat few bands could successfully pull off, but ‘Dream Wife’ definitely does. Ambitious, it definitely is, but rightfully so. It’s evidence that they have the strength and chemistry to achieve big things.
On a whole, ‘Dream Wife’ is a heart on your sleeve collection of songs with a raging undercurrent that sets the band in a perfect position to start sprinkling their magic everywhere. The phrase ’empowered women empower women’ is more than applicable to Dream Wife- through all the uplifting moments and the most fury-ridden ones, the main thing that the album remains is relentlessly empowering. This empowerment is evident through the band’s encouragement of women in rock and punk rock- their fervent use of the idea of ‘bad bitches’ and the way in which they urge them to come dance around at the front at their gigs shows in their music and it’s invigorating.
I also love that the album is one for many occasions because of its diversity- it’s an album to dance to, laugh to, get emotional to, and it is a complete celebration of what it means to be a girl which is really special. It’s the perfect album to listen to and get you feeling all exhilarated and giddy or alternately quite introspective, and the amalgamation of emotions it presents makes it a versatile and intriguing offering. Despite the band initially forming as a bit of a joke at art university, their debut album irrevocably shows that Dream Wife are a band that deserve to be taken seriously, and will continue making a storm on the music scene for a lot longer yet. It is definitely one to be added to every ‘girl power’ playlist you can, so I would highly recommend giving it a listen and letting yourself feel like the ‘bad bitch’ Dream Wife want you to.
Written by Neive McCarthy (@neiveeee on Twitter.)