Deriving their name from a pointed criticism of society’s long-held objectification of women, the acclaimed London-based punk rock trio and JOVM mainstays Dream Wife — Rakel Mjöll (vocals) (she/her), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) (she/her) and Bella Podapec (bass, vocals) (they/them) — can trace their origins to when the trio met and started the band back in 2015 as an art project rooted in a unique concept: a band born out of one girl’s memories of growing up in Canada in the 1990s.
Dream Wife’s 2018 self-titled debut was released to widespread critical acclaim, and led to the punk outfit opening for Garbage, The Kills and Sleigh Bells, as well as playing that year’s SXSW. Building upon a growing international profile, the members of Dream Wife also went on a series of headlining tours across the European Union and the States, which included a Rough Trade stop with New York-based genre-defying artist Sabri.
The acclaimed London outfit’s 2020 Marta Salogni-produced So When You Gonna . . . saw the JOVM mainstays writing and recording their most urgent and direct material to date. Thematically touching upon “women’s issues” like abortion, miscarriage and gender equality, the album’s material is fueled by a “it’s-now-or-never” immediacy, with the listener being reminded that now is the time to get off their ass and start doing something right now to make a world a much better place for all of us. If not, we may all be doomed.
In the UK, Dream Wife’s sophomore album was a critical and commercial success: The album landed at #18 on the UK Albums Chart, making it the only album in the Top 20 to be produced by an all womxn/non-male production and engineering team — and the only non-major label release to chart that high.
The trio’s latest single “Leech” is the first bit of new material from the member of the London-based JOVM mainstays since So When You Gonna . . . is an urgent post-punk inspired ripper that sees the band’s Mjöll alternating between spoken-word delivery for the song’s verses and feral shouting for the song’s choruses. Mjöll’s delivery is paired with an alternating song structure that features a looping and wiry guitar bursts for the verses and explosive power chord-driven riffage for the song’s chorus. The song manages to be a tense, uneasy and forceful mosh pit friendly anthem for our uncertain, fucked up time with the song addressing the double standards of power — while urgently calling for more empathy.
“It’s an anthem for empathy. For solidarity,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “Musically tense and withheld, erupting to angry cathartic crescendos. The push and pull of the song lyrically and musically expands and contracts, stating and calling out the double standards of power. Nobody really wins in a patriarchal society. We all lose. We could all use more empathy. As our first song to be released in a while, we wanted to write something that feels like letting an animal out of a cage. It’s out. And it’s out for blood…”
Directed by Bethany Fitter, the accompanying video is centered around a concept and creative direction by the members of Dream Wife, and CGI effects by Amy Gough: The video features the band wearing outfits by East London-based designer Ingrid Kraftchenko, playing the song in someone’s blood stream with CGI leeches crawling around.