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From what I’ve read, London-based Dream Wife started from an art school project in which its three principal members portrayed a 90’s alt rock influenced band in a Spinal Tap-like mockumentary*. Rakel Mjöll, Alice Go, and Bella Podpadec (along with drummer Alex Paveley) still seem to be having fun but now, they’re damned serious as well. They are well-known for their electric live shows, not shying away from tough subjects in their lyrics and their unwavering support of women and non-binary, especially in terms of their underrepresentation.
I came upon the group after the release of their sophomore album, “So when you gonna…”, in 2020 and I made the immediate and obvious comparison to the riot grrl** punk acts that emerged out of the early nineties. But I also noted that it wasn’t all about the rage, hearing a certain embrace of melodic pop and felt there were whiffs of bands like Elastica and Sleeper and Echobelly from the Britpop era. To be honest, it was this latter element that led me towards repeat listens because as counterintuitive as it might sound, the introduction of pop elements to the harder edge suggested a willingness to expand and experiment.
I still haven’t gone back to explore the self-titled debut but I certainly will make the time, just as I plan to give their upcoming third album, “Social lubrication”, a go. “So when you gonna…”, though, is an enduring listen to my ears and the album’s second single, “Hasta la vista”, is all kinds of fun. But don’t be fooled by the title that smacks of the old Schwarzenegger tagline. Gimmicky, this song is not. The giddy-up bassline and ticky-tack drums get you moving and the synths just hang out there in the background, a humming wash, setting a warm tone. The guitars dance a pogo and frontwoman Rakel Mjöll softly bemoans and at the same time, celebrates relationships lost and never to be re-discovered. The band has admitted that “Hasta la vista” was the first song to be written for the new album after returning from a long period of the touring and coming home to find everything changed.
“Remember me in the morning light
Remember none of the wrong, just the right
Remember all the joy we gave
Remember that it paved the way”
This is a sentiment with which many can appreciate and identify. And now, they can dance to it as well.
*I loved Spinal Tap so I’d be curious to check it out, though I have no idea if it’s available anywhere online.
**As well other all female bands with a similar sound and aesthetic that had been mislabelled as such, like L7 and Hole.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2020 list, click here.