IT BEGAN as an art project in a Brighton art college, with three students performing as a ‘fake girl band’ as part of an exhibition. What the trio did not expect was for that impromptu band to go down so well.
Now Dream Wife - Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals ), Alice Go (guitar, vocals ), and Bella Podpadec (bass, vocals ) - stand as the most exciting indie-rock band of the moment, a fact confirmed by their marvellous eponymous debut album, which came out in January. Allmusic.com called it "a fierce debut packed with jagged guitar riffs, sneering kiss-offs, and irresistible charm"; NME called it "the most exciting thing you’re going to hear this dreary January, and quite likely all 2018". DIY perhaps said it best: "Occasionally in life we get the bands we want: sometimes - like in the case of Dream Wife - they’re also the bands we need."
In Alice Go the band have maybe the best indie-rock guitarist since Johnny Marr. Go's approach to the instrument draws on punk, classic rock, noise rock, r'n'b, and pop stylings, sometimes within the one song. She has a canny sense of when to hold back, when to go wild, when to be quiet, when to add that dextrous arpeggio, and when to hit the distortion pedal and let rip - an imaginative stylist who puts her guitar skills at the service of the needs of the song.
Yet Dream Wife also have something to say. The band's name draws attention to women being presented as an object, a commodity, a collectable, then subverts it, via songs like 'Somebody', where Rakel declares, "I am not my body/I am somebody" which takes on women’s autonomy for their own physical form.
As Alice Go told Atwood magazine: "Rakel’s lyrics are about showing so many different faces of a woman. It’s got sincerity to it." Rakel’ said in the same interview: “'Do I amuse you? Do I confuse you?' that’s scary. It’s fun. We wrote that because when we play 'FUU' live, the faces of the audience members – especially men – change. They’re not sure how to act. They’re like 'Is she going to rip my throat out? Or am I really turned on? Should I walk away?'."
Dream Wife play Strange Brew at the Róisín Dubh on Thursday October 18 at 8pm. As part of the band's call ("For our autumn headline tour dates we are calling for women/non-binary artists to come share their music, thoughts, the night and a stage with us" ), Galway band Dott will be the support. Tickets are available from www.roisindubh.net; the Ticket Desk at [email protected], Shop Street; and The Róisín Dubh.