Possibly the most successful art school project ever created, Dream Wife release their second studio album, So When You Gonna…, this Friday, 3 July. Having previously made a name for themselves producing gutsy, confrontational punk pop, the trio have come together yet again to prove their ability to create a punchy, socially engaging political statement, albeit whilst adopting a different tone from that for which they are traditionally known.
Powerful and playful, ‘Sports!’ has ironically been my running soundtrack of choice since it’s release in March. With it’s fiddly guitar riffs and voice-over reminiscent of retro video games, ‘Sports!’ is a tongue-in-cheek, 90s inspired hype generator, that encourages the listener to “never apologize” and “put your money where your mouth is”. Title track ‘So When You Gonna’ is similarly bolshy and unreserved, featuring Dream Wife‘s signature shouty vocals and to-the-point message, and providing the listener with their much craved dose of the band’s own brand of empowering punk rock.
But despite these acknowledging head nods towards their musical roots, the album largely consists of softer tracks that deal with personal experiences of real mental and emotional hurdles. “It’s important to talk about these things and important to shine lights in dark places,” vocalist and bassist Bella Podpadec shared in her interview with RIOT earlier this month, “this kind of culture of silence and shame over those experiences is really damaging.”
The clean, gentle electric guitar notes and soft drum beats of ‘Validation’ set a calm and comfortable scene for a narrative focusing on confidence and low self esteem, the lyrics “validation, why does that mean so much to me//Validation, it is a human tragedy” reassuring the listener that those for which the lyrics resonate are not alone, and revealing the comforting knowledge that this is a shared experience. ‘Temporary’ also reflects feelings of vulnerability and fragility, exploring themes of love and loss and contrasting the band’s typically brash and unapologetic tone. The lyrics “If the heartbeat fails//Know I’m here//With a full embrace” demonstrate the record’s purpose as a judgement free haven, an understanding tool to help when things get tough.
Ultimately, So When You Gonna… has provided Dream Wife with a chance to demonstrate a vastly different side to their music. Cracking the ice, the trio have proved that punk rock and politics is more than a loud voice and a frosty exterior – it’s exposing your vulnerability to allow others to connect and resonate with your message. Extending their arms, Dream Wife have pulled down the facade, exposed their secrets, and let the listeners in.
Dream Wife’s So When You Gonna… is released this Friday and is available to pre-order now.