Social Lubrication by Dream WifeRelease date: June 9, 2023
Label: Lucky Number
It can always be forgiven with the amount of energy, time, and investment involved in the whole process it takes to produce an album, that artists’ self-analytical assessment of their most recent and forthcoming release is always going to be positive. So, it’s of no surprise London based punk, pop, indie rockers Dream Wife are going to sing their third album Social Lubrication’s praises very highly. And they do so with a deeply detailed description that not only sounds enticing; it should win awards alone for being so perceptively accurate: “Hyper lusty rock ‘n’ roll with a political punch, exploring the alchemy of attraction, the lust for life”. It’s great to report Social Lubrication more than lives up to that quote. Fans of Sleater Kinney, The Breeders, The Pixies, Wet Leg, take note: drop what you are doing and check out this band and album now!
‘Hyper lusty rock ‘n’ roll’ is sharply spot on, as is ‘lust for life’ because there are plenty of bouncy belters which leap at you with the same instant pleasure as Iggy Pop’s latter named classic. The straight between the eyes ‘Hot’ and ‘Orbit’ – are some of the catchiest indie punk, rock ‘n’ roll you will hear all year. They ignite a rock n roll punch, and add mighty relevant political edge to match. To take in themes including feminism, gender roles and calling out systematic patriarchy as on ‘Kick in the Teeth’ and on the menacing, bruising, and powerful ‘Leech’, with the repeated refrain of “Show some fucking empathy”. They apply the loud, quiet formula, using the verses to build tension before it detonates with an explosive outpouring of a screaming rage chorus.
In juxtaposition, the themes of love and lust are as equally thoughtful, and acutely observed, as on the dialled down tempo, slow burner gem ‘Honestly’, and with the snappy ‘I Want You’, and ‘Curious’. It rounds out many themes explored, and with each listen peels away more depth and meaning each time. But, what gives Social Lubrication grounded in real life and its complexities (both big and small, personal and society at large), is the snippets of the everyday, ‘why watch the T.V. where there’s nothing on?’ and ‘walking in circles around Hackney Downs park’ interspersed with a lyrical blend of seriousness, honesty, anger, lust, as well as a delightfully tongue and cheek playfulness in the fiery, anthemic banger ‘Hot (Don’t Date A Musician)’.
The songs are all so well-crafted, all perfectly created for the live setting. Boosted by guitarist Alice Gough’s excellent production, Social Lubrication is a punchy, vibrant listen; songs leap out of the speakers proud and loud. While every band member plays their part, Rakel Mjoll’s excellent vocal performance across the whole record is an exceptional highlight due to the application of a variation of vocal styles: deeper, near talking on ‘Mascara’, contrasts with the leaping, energetic yelping on ‘Hot (Don’t Date A Musician)’ to the gutsy rage on ‘Leech’, reflects perfectly the lyrical themes and musical moods of each song.
Social Lubrication is an instant powerful display of a band at the peak of their powers. It packs powerful social relevance and with more plays reveals ever growing depth and substance. This album should deservedly propel Dream Wife’s upward trajectory rocketing ever skywards.