It’s almost mad to think that Dream Nails are still yet to release a full-length record. In their relatively short carer thus far, the London punk witches have become synonymous with feminist DIY punk, taking their queer riot grrl rage to all across the European landmass and becoming the sound of protest near and far. Given this, it’s not too surprising all eyes of the punk inclined are now on the band on the run up to the release of their self titled debut long play. Thankfully, the band do their reputation and the scene justice by providing a recorded experience that’s authentic, barbed and a whole lot of fun.
‘Jillian’, an ode to body positivity and queer joy, springboards the record off with sweat drenched energy and impish joy, qualities that permanent the record. A track that jubilantly documents the moment of accepting queerness in the heat of summer exercise, it’s a perfect introduction to a record that constantly enjoys an air of adolescent joy, even when the group do battle with societal injustices and the failings of 21st century capitalism and culture.
‘Corporate Realness’ - a primal, pure punk rager in vein of Petrol Girls and The Menstrual Cramps -see’s the group sardonically narrate the skull crushing banality of dead eyed office culture and how we must submit to such a culture just to survive. In relation, the universally relatable ‘Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns)’ see’s the band narrating their own experiences with modern dating and ghosting, an experience that even punk witches are not immune from with that delightful zeal that’s akin to a hedonistic Worriers.
It’s not just the buoyant warmth and charming delivery that keeps the record endlessly likeable. Much like the albums that clearly inspired Dream Nails, the album is authentically raw in it’s production and presentation. It’s rumbling bounce, archaic charge and riotous vocals are unfiltered and unpolished in the best way possible. Classic singles ‘DIY’ and ‘Vagina Police’ are fantastic examples that highlight this, with Janey Starling’s scathing vocals riding on the haplessly enjoyable punk bounce courtesy of her peers.
At times this record can be a barrel of laughs, at other times it can be a lit molotov right to the cranium, something that comes evident following on from the sun kissed respite of ‘Swimming Pool’. But yet, even when the record is addressing deadly serious themes and demanding justice with raised fits, the atmosphere is still constantly jubilant and delivered with joyous rage. Documenting how the planet is suffering from the plight of artificial climate change and how we’re revelling in the heat of the end times, the borderline retro-punk rage of ‘This Is The Summer’ feels extremely prompt and a fantastic example of this, with Starling’s condemning shouts of “This is the summer // The summer we’ll say we knew” sounding oh too relevant given the last few months.
Despite such unceasing likeability, the later third of the record is where such warmth becomes more-so like the heat from lit torches. The skit of ‘Fighting Tips’ lunges right into the key-clecnhed ‘Payback’, a track that documents the horror of sexual assault whilst promising righteous revenge. Immediately after, ‘Kiss My Fist’, potentially the most sobering and aggressive offering here, see’s the band addressing the recent homophonic attack suffered by two women all whilst addressing toxic masculinity's obsession with sexualising feminine queerness. With the record that’s full of joy, such a violent conclusion is certainly a contrast but one that harrowingly highlights the injustices and abhorrent very real violence that queer people face on a horrifically regular basis.
Even with this record containing 15 tracks (possibly 16 if you where to listen to the physical version), the debut from Dream Nails is a flamboyant and righteous riot that you can't help but adore and learn from. Yes, it may be a lot more fun than anticipated, but this also a rowdy raw punk party that revels in the joys of queer culture whilst combating those who oppress it. Punk may be a facing a deluge of bog standard, male dominated acts right now, but with Dream Nails manning the counterattack, the future of the genre is indeed in safe, albeit clenched, hands.
Dream Nails is released August 28th via Alcopop! Records. Pre-order the record here.