Dream Wife – Dream Wife (Album Review)

Behold the voice of a generation, as Dream Wife unleash their self titled debut upon the world. Here is a band that tear up the rules to make their own. Turning the objectification of women on its head to reclaim their place in society with a sound that feeds an obsession for the 90’s all while formulating their own distinct signature.

Latest single ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ is a fast paced, fun ear-worm of frustration as it ripples with a wildly confident energy. Vocal range is a thing of wonder in this track as well as throughout the album. Rakel Mjöll’s transition from sweet harmonies to more jarring vocal lines (see the playful demand of ‘Let’s Make Out’ and full blown anger of ‘F.U.U.’), and the howls of the band ganging together; there is more to hear with every listen. Even the instruments have their own voice. Alice Go’s sharp and furious guitar holds a great deal of the band’s distinction, and together with Bella Podpadec’s driving basslines fill the album with huge personality. While an appropriate description of Dream Wife would be something around the idea of fiery energy and riotous behaviour, they are so much more than that.

Perhaps the strongest message of the album comes in the form of ‘Somebody’. If you only take one thing from this album it’s this – “I am not my body // I am somebody”. No elaboration needed, this resounding message is clear. If anyone has ever felt like they have lost their voice, Dream Wife have just found it and made it louder than ever as ‘Somebody’ speaks for everyone who has experienced some form of objectification, from a look to so much more. It is a track that puts Dream Wife forward as band to pay attention to, for young girls to aspire to. It’s a lot of responsibility but nothing that Mjöll, Go and Podpadec can’t handle.

Not everything in this album is so hard going. Moving melodies come in ‘Love Without Reason’, a delicate look into the innocence of young love. Honest and pure but not without that Dream Wife edge, it is a beautifully enchanting number that resembles the feelings we had as teens. This innocence is then thrown into a ball of energy that is ‘Kids’. While the former is living in the moment, ‘Kids’ seems to be looking back, reveling in nostalgia. There is an appropriately rough cut sound to this track to match those imperfect, yet highly important moments of the past that went on to shape who we are today. The energy of ‘Kids’ drives the track to move just as quickly as days of our childhood and we almost miss how it goes in hand so naturally with ‘Love Without Reason’, making the unison of these songs all the more sacred.

What better way to end an album than with a riotous track that is a sweet release of pent up anger. Certainly a memorable piece, ‘F.U.U.’ sees Mjöll’s once sweet vocals now expressing pure exasperation; “I’m gonna fuck you up, gonna cut you up, gonna fuck you up”. Just to be clear here, there is no messing around, even at its most chaotic. Don’t misinterpret sensitivity for weakness, because you may not come out well on the other side.

That this all started as an art college project, which saw them go on the road with no one but themselves is incredibly inspiring and all part of their brilliantly bold charm. A strong, brutally upfront debut that establishes a solid place in the music scene well earned by Dream Wife themselves; this is their moment and no one else’s.

Dream Wife is out now via Lucky Number.