Dream Wife – So When You Gonna…

So When You Gonna…

Dream Wife

2020 – Rock

Lucky Number

As much as the Dream Wife girls appear even more determined on their second album, So When You Gonna…, their ideas seem too good for just a generic rock sound.

When Alice Go, Rakel Mjöll and Bella Podpadec got together to form Dream Wife, they didn’t think it would be something so serious and concrete. They studied at the University of Brighton and joined for an art school performance project. At the beginning of their careers, right after they named themselves based on the classic 1953 film, Dream Wife, which had numerous feminist ideas, they attributed a concept to themselves: “fake girl band”. In their songs, which are inspired by David Bowie and Madonna, they work feminism, objectification and gender with a rock-based sound that does not have the premise of being something extremely serious. Since their first EP, EP01, which was recorded at Go’s parents’ house with her father on drums, and their first album, self-titled, Dream has been delivering interesting, somewhat ambitious and exciting tracks, however, their second album, So When You Gonna …, it is so disappointing that not even the strongest points of the band saved this.

Despite numerous similarities to the debut of the British girl trio, So When You Gonna… is inferior. Although their lyrics have an ambition to address necessary themes and emotional and personal conflicts in a serious and relaxed way at the same time, most of these songs are totally forgettable because they rarely present elements that make them unique. As much as some tracks have some aspects and elements that are different, most of the songs here fall into generic instruments that have been worked on for many years by the same garage-teen rock bands. The ideas here are good, but their sound is not good enough for them.

The strongest point of the album is the way Rakel Mjöll works her vocals differently on the tracks. She not only uses her voice to sing, but also to recite, talk and tell us jokes. On the album’s first track, “Sports!”, she delivers a little bit of it all. At first, she asks the listener: “Fuck sorry, fuck please, will you be kindly start again?”; later, when the instrumental has already become a mix of classic teen rock with video game sound trends, she recites: “Choose your player / Player one / Player two / On your marks / One, two, three / And away they go”. Although the track has a confusing lyric, it remains a good track for opening the album because it gives off a good energy. Moments later, “Homesick” shows a very strange, raw and even true performance in the chorus, which ends up being the only really positive point. Later on the album, in “So When You Gonna…”, Mjöll appears a little more violent and determined. She shouts with an explosive instrumental: “So when you gonna kiss me?”. Although the track does not go far beyond that of a generic rock track, the construction of the persona here is very well done. Throughout the track she screams, until on the bridge where she loses patience and speaks slowly: “Alright, I guess I just have to spell it out for you then / When are you gonna kiss me?”.

Finally, the thing that haunts them throughout the album is a generic sound that does not go beyond the sameness that everyone has been hearing for years in the garage and DIY teen rock genre. “Validation” is one of the weakest on the album, because despite having several positive points in the lyrics, the chorus of the track is quite boring and does not go much beyond the same generic and usual thing that Avril Lavigne would deliver in the early 2000s. “RH RN”, in the same way, is a set of generic things that have been worked on countless times before: extolling the power of adolescence with phrases designed to become Instagram’s posts captions with guitars, basses and drums in the most usual way possible. Finally, even though “Old Flame” is not the most generic rock and even shows a quite beautiful lyric, the unnecessary repetitions and the sweet chorus made the track seem like a mix between Pop and Rock, but at the same time, none of both.  As much as these tracks are not necessarily bad, they do not go beyond what everyone is used to, breaking a little with the promising character that the band had shown in the past.

Of course, there are some beautiful, captivating tracks that are really worth. “Hasta La Vista”, also with a calmer and sweeter aesthetic, has a refrain that, although nothing complex and very simple, is very smooth and beautiful. With a more beachy and mild tone, “U Do U” has the catchiest chorus, not because it is good, but because it is very sticky to the mind. However, even with all the sound part that is very pleasant, the lyrics come out as a strong part since this seems like a letter to us, who are seen as friends for them, which says: “You do you / Carry on through / You do you / Don’t waste your time with fools / Who don’t value you / Or see all that you can do”. “Temporary”, in turn, is supported by the chorus question: “How is it to love and live? / Temporary”. Even though these tracks are the most beautiful and even the least equal, they still carry several usual elements that are throughout the album.

Fortunately, the end of the album is not so bad. After the sadness of “Hold On Me”, which has one of the best and most emotional lines on the album (“I like you and I like your friends” and “You like me and you like my friends”) and a very catchy chorus (“Then you fly home to your world / Then you come home to your girl / Then I fly home to my world / Knowing you go home to your girl”), we are taken to the best of the album, “After The Rain”. Besides being the most different of the album, with an atmosphere built by a grand piano and idle notes of guitar and bass, the lyrics of the song are the best we see on the entire LP. With tracks that can bring double meanings, they talk about abortion and women’s rights: “Playing a role of a daughter / Not ready to be anyone’s mother / … / It’s my choice my life / It’s my will my sacrifice / My body my right”. A beautiful, emotional, important and extremely intimate track. In addition, the track shows that they have attitude, however, they lack originality, which is what ended up making the album sound so forgettable.

LISTEN ON: Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal

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