When you listen to Dream Wife’s debut album, you are immediately grabbed by their rowdy and energetic punk sound. The coarse, groovy guitar riffs and the steady rock drum beats are accompanied by some powerful and elastic vocals. With punk, rock, and disco influences plucked from throughout the musical decades, this all-female trio is storming the world.
They formed in the UK seaside town of Brighton in 2015. Reykjavík-born singer Rakel Mjöll Leifsdóttir met her bandmates, Bella and Alice, studying at art school. They self-released an EP, and signed to London label Lucky Number, spending the following summer writing songs in a windowless room in South London.“We didn’t get any summer and we looked very pale,” laughs Rakel. “But we got good songs.”
Dream Wife started from a simple desire to visit Canada. “Me and Bella went out for a night out,” recalls Rakel. “We got an idea on the dance floor that we really want to go to Canada to visit our friends. We thought, ‘How do we do that? Why not just make a band and tour Canada?’”
The band played their first show in a campus gallery. Shortly after, they were off to tour Canada. “We got loads of our friends to help us and book shows,” says Rakel. “We visited different cities and slept on people’s floors. Our second show had 200 people there. I’ve still no idea how that happened.”
This May, Dream Wife will go back to where it all started as they embark on a North American tour. They also have plans for tours of Europe and the UK, and they’ll appear at Secret Solstice in Reykjavík this summer.
The band is a contrast to the ethos of the group. “We like the cheekiness behind the name and the conversation around it,” says Rakel. “We like to play around with people’s expectations. When people see a small blonde girl walking on stage, they’re expecting it to be sweet. And maybe it is sweet, for the first bars—but then suddenly I’m screaming my lungs out.”
The ideas of changing gender stereotypes and empowering women are part of Dream Wife’s vision. The first single from their album, “Somebody,” was released on International Women’s Day in 2017. “It was about understanding and confronting society’s take on sexual assault and rape cases,” Rakel explains. “It was a good conversation to drop as a first single.”
Aesthetics and sound
Dream Wife have a strong aesthetic, from their videos to artwork, to sound quality. “We have a wonderful team in London,” says Rakel. “It’s nice to work with your friends to make videos and artwork, to create a whole world around each song.”
Sonically, the debut album is raw and distinctive, and you’d know it’s Dream Wife when you hear it. Why? Because there is a secret formula: “We recorded most of the album on tape because we wanted to get a live sound down,” says Rakel. “We didn’t want it to sound too polished. It was fun but a bit stressful, because you only had like three takes.” The plan worked, and with positive reviews pouring in from far and wide, it seems Dream Wife are going to be travelling farther afield than Canada in the months and years to come.