Music videos are, in essence, an intriguing art form. For every thematic sci-fi spaghetti Western epic, there are hundreds of lazily filmed performance videos. One band that never disappoints, however, is Dream Wife. After putting music to wrestling matches, childhood home videos, and anime robot dystopias, it seems they know how to make something as compelling visually, as it is musically. With the title single from their upcoming album ‘So When You Gonna…’ straying dangerously close to performance video territory, can they keep up their winning streak?
The answer is a tentative yes.
The basic premise of the video is simple and cliché: record a song as it’s performed live. The performance recorded has now become the band’s only show of 2020, a frenetic and sweaty gig at Peckham Audio (which I was lucky enough to get into, and wrote about in January). Of course, there is a twist: the entire video was recorded from inside the director’s mouth, or a large rubber approximation of gums and teeth. Seeing the rig at the gig was disconcerting, to say the least. Fortunately, the video came out (mostly) less horrifying than it seemed. Apart from the oesophagus shot, that is. Honestly, there’s not much more to say other than it’s pretty cool for a performance video. Oh, and my hair is in it.
So, the video is cool, but these visuals alone aren’t going to blow anyone away. Fortunately, the song goes Hard. If you want mopey dream pop, Dream Wife is the wrong place to look. As the title suggests, their intentions are not subtle. As a follow up to ‘Let’s Make Out’ from their self-titled debut, the music isn’t either. Guitarist Alice Go is a riffing machine, between her garage power chord patterns in the bridge and chorus, and incessant tremolo picking in the verses. Mostly though, you’re grabbed by the vocals. Singer and utterly captivating frontwoman, Rakel Mjoll switches from almost shouting into the microphone during the equally lyrically unsubtle choruses, to a captivatingly husky almost-crooning through more intimate verses like:
‘I just met you, and then some /
Words begin to fall out of your mouth /
What a lovely mouth’.
I have not had cause to engage in romantic pursuits, but I imagine that this could embody those careful yet yearning early encounters.
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Amongst the stunning garage ruckus, two parts really elevate this track in my eyes. Who would think that sporting-style commentary would work so well? Listen out after the line ‘I guess I’m gonna have to spell it out for you’ to hear the most fun under-dub. The other charming touch is right at the end, as Mjoll jokes ‘Too bad they were a bad kisser’. After all that build-up, you would certainly be disappointed. More importantly, it would be so easy to end on a big drum fill and oodles of feedback. Adding these little jokey extracts sets Dream Wife apart as a band who don’t take themselves too seriously and have fun while making absolutely monster tunes. It’s honestly refreshing. It’s just a shame that the full original outro conversation was removed because Disney didn’t like them mentioning The Little Mermaid.
Dream Wife’s second album, So When You Gonna…, is due for release on the 3rd of July. Preorder it now at your local record store, or I’ll be deeply disappointed.
In the meantime, stream Dream Wife’s debut album here: