In Review: Dream Nails - Dream Nails

With rousing, tongue-in-cheek anthems probing modern dating, capitalism, and discrimination, Dream Nails' eponymous debut album proves that, in a world where no stone is left unturned in political debate, resistance isn’t quite as futile as it used to be.
Posted: 27 August 2020 Words: Alex Orr

In a world where no stone is left unturned in political debate, there has perhaps been no better time to be in a punk band. A genre with political rebellion at its heart, the dissatisfaction and volatility that dominates everyday life lends itself to rousing anthems of resistance, which is exactly what punk rockers Dream Nails have delivered in their debut LP. 

For fans of Bikini Kill (or in fact any Riot Grrl band), Dream Nails bring an all-women entourage playing unapologetic punk rock with whispers of bouncy, left-field pop mixed in. The album looks at everyday life with a tongue-in-cheek style covering up more serious thoughts and pondering on the world we find ourselves in. There’s something to be said about vocalist Sterling’s sardonic musings on modern dating, capitalism and discrimination – underneath the jokey titles and mini-sketch-styled interludes there’s well-crafted analysis. Whilst the band may not generally be covering any new ground in the realm of punk, they are adding a modern and accessible flare.

Short and not-so-sweet, the songs themselves are all your typical punk rock fare - it’s rare for a song to break the 2.5 minute mark. Opener ‘Jillian’ starts with your archetypical bouncing punk bassline before throwing itself into a shimmering guitar-led chorus. This is every member of the band introducing themselves and exploding into a rousing proclamation of presence and intent in a compact sub-3 minute package.

The aggression really ramps up; ‘Corporate Realness’ is crashing, angry and visceral, with shouted chants and distorted guitars abound, ‘Text Me Back’ has shades of a manic, frenetic energy anchoring it, whilst ‘DIY’ has a rousing call and response structure backed by an oddly catchy chorus before descending back into the madness with a sputtering outro. The band take the musical codes of punk rock to heart, faithfully writing music that would have felt as at home in the 80’s as it does in the 2020’s. 

Undoubtedly, the album's best moments come when the group shy away slightly from the tried-and-tested formula of the bands they love – injections of retro-pop rock make ‘This is the Summer’ the highlight of the record, with the different approach giving the entire group a chance to show off their solid vocal chops. Album closer ‘Kiss My Fist’ is another of the record’s top moments – tackling the homophobic attack in London against two women from last year, a level of passion comes through more so here than the rest of the record, whilst musically Dream Nails successfully combine their softer and more aggressive sides into the most complete-sounding track on the record.

Dream Nails' debut, eponymous album moves at a blistering pace, with no song outstaying its welcome whilst tackling issues that need to be tackled - a true triumph of aggressive dissonance. 

Dream Nails is out tomorrow (28th August) via Alcopop! Records.

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