The phrase “dream wife” seems like something straight out of an advert from the fifties, conjuring an outdated ideal that equates femininity with domesticity. But rest assured, Dream Wife are not the past, they are the future.
Thirty seconds into their debut LP and vocalist Rakel Mjöll has already screamed the title of the opening track, Let’s Make Out, four times. It’s a fun song, and wouldn’t look entirely out of place on your Valentine’s Day playlist, but it’s also an important reclamation of female sexuality.
With this first song, Dream Wife’s self-titled album hits the ground running. From the sleazy guitar riff of ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ to the frantic chorus of ‘Act My Age’, and even through the softer tracks like ‘Love Without Reason’, the energy of that first song is maintained. This album is refreshingly compassionate, wildly aggressive, and unapologetically feminine.
The punk trio, which is completed by Alice Go on guitar and Bella Podpadec on bass, are at their best when they are angry. ‘Somebody’ is an anthem for consent (“What you wore and how you bore it so well / What did you expect would happen?”) powerful, poignant and, sadly, relevant. Album closer ‘F.U.U’ hits like a freight train, with Mjöll chanting “gonna fuck you up, gonna cut you up, gonna fuck you up” and guest vocals from Fever Dream who snarls something in Icelandic before yelling “I spy with my little eye bad bitches / Dream Wife for life”. This is an album that starts strong, ends strong, and is also strong in the middle.
Dream Wife are important. In a male-dominated genre, they refuse to be quiet, to be the ideal that their name suggests. As recent festival line-up announcements show (cough, Wireless, cough), the music industry is still significantly skewed in favour of male artists – particularly in the punk/alternative scene. It’s not that there aren’t as many female artists, but they generally don’t receive the support and promotion that male artists do. For that reason, you should go and listen to this album. That, and the fact that it’s just very good.