‘Difficult second album’ is a phrase that I doubt has an Icelandic translation. If there is one, singer Rakel Mjoll evidently never heard it. Neither, though for less concrete reasons, have bassist Bella Podpadec or guitarist Alice Go. Based upon the new songs I saw tonight, there is no reason to believe that Dream Wife’s follow up to their self-titled 2018 debut will be anything short of incredible. Hell, based upon the live experience, it may even end up my favourite album of whatever year it comes out (2020 please?)
The set opens with a now-classic track, Hey Heartbreaker. Mjoll defies any convention you may hold as to the necessity of being in time – lyrics are hurled out, splattering inaccurately onto the murderous instrumental. It works. Over Go’s snarling guitar lines – with an aesthetic crossing punk, 60s Americana, and a hint of cyberpunk – convention need not apply. This is just the start, throughout the set the band hit some of their most raucous and sing-along-able past tunes.
Feminist anthem Somebody arrives halfway through, with a call of ‘Bad Bitches to the Front’. It’s a wholly positive cry – Dream Wife promote equality, kindness, and the creation of a safe space at their shows, with Bad Bitch being the label for such positive gig-goers. After calling out a few hesitant friends and family, the crowd move in a bit and the scene is set for a proper party mood.
Most notable though is the live interpretation of F.U.U. I thought this song was hardcore enough when it was on the record. With slightly extended intros live, they had struck gold. Tonight’s intro was gargantuan, it was noisy, it was chaotic, and most importantly, it was awesome. It’s the kind of intro every guitarist wishes they could have. To take such a simple riff and mutate it into whatever the hell I witnessed is incredible. Podpadec and drummer Alex Paveley have patience beyond their years to endure, and I thank them for it. No other song has the sheer energy of F.U.U. Perhaps the closest comparison I know of is Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes’ I Hate You, which with its slower tempo and angrier lyrics doesn’t quite capture the mood or cause such a frenzy. Moshing just doesn’t happen at 75bpm.
Regardless of how great these old songs are, the highlight of the night is the new tracks played for some of their first times. So When U Gonna Kiss Me is both the second and final song played. It deserves two plays. At least. I heard it maybe 20 times tonight and would happily keep listening. Especially to the illegal version (fuck Disney (I don’t know why Fin wrote this but I’m leaving it – Editor)). It’s practically the sequel to debut album single Lets Make Out and generates the same crowd response, even with a crowd who have never heard the song before.
Sports is the most exciting of the three other new songs and made its live debut tonight. To avoid spoiling too much, ill only say that to me it sounds like what people in 1984 may have guessed to be a best-case scenario for rock in the year 3000. I heard it both live and in soundcheck, and as seems to be a theme, I want to hear it more. As soon as possible. If not now.
So, in summary: Dream Wife are as fantastic as ever live, all their new music slaps hard, I need to hear MORE, and a weird music video is coming. Album this year? I certainly hope so. Go listen to them Here: