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Dream Nails - Doom Loop (Album Review)

Friday, 27 October 2023 Written by Laura Johnson

Dream Nails are a band of intention, fearlessly tackling topics that many avoid as they don’t have the mettle — not to mention the musical chops — to turn an unacceptable socio-political reality into something captivating and joyful.

Opener Good Guy shows from the off that the queer, political punk group are wise to virtue signalling, and prepared to call out inequity without reservation. “It’s not a lone wolf, it’s the whole damn pack, not a bad apple, it’s the whole damn tree,” vocalist Ishmael Kirby sings. 

Elsewhere, they tackle misogyny, police brutality, and, just for fun, a trip to a ball pit. The record never feels heavy, though, with the band using compelling songwriting to Trojan Horse their collective point of view, which is one of inclusion and equality.

Musically they’re on top form too, with slicker production not compromising the explosive live energy that was beautifully captured on their 2020 self-titled debut LP. They expand their wheelhouse beyond the scope of DIY punk and riot grrrl to include elements of nu-metal, hip-hop and good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll.

Guitarist Anya Pearson changes tack depending on the track, moving from power chords to meandering melodies that sometimes follow in the dynamic Kirby’s footsteps. On Sometimes I Do Get Lonely he speaks from the perspective of an incel, adopting an extremely disarming and smart approach to a well-worn topic, contrasting frustrated spoken-word bars atop tense full-band backing with a more melodic, pared-back chorus.

Just when you think you have an inkling of the direction a song might take, a plethora of new ideas are introduced and you’re on a whole new path. Sometimes they come full circle but, damn, what a ride. The rhythm section of drummer Lucy Katz and bassist Mimi Jasson is a formidable one, and they are able to take the lead without being bolstered by Pearson’s playing.

Danceable hooks and unforgettable lyrics are rife throughout. Case Dimissed finds them delivering call and response chants of 1312 (code for ACAB or All Cops Are Bastards) alongside exclamations of mistreatment, with Kirby’s punctuated vocal delivery conveying the urgency of the subject matter. Monster, meanwhile, will have you repeating, “There’s cracks in everything, that’s how the light gets in,” on a loop for days, but we’re not mad about it.

‘Doom Loop’ is a record bursting with genuine feeling and intensity, articulated with nuance and conviction. It smacks of a band completely confident in their shared identity, unapologetically calling out bullshit behaviour and systemic injustices, but making sure we can dance while they do it. 

Dream Nails Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri October 27 2023 - MANCHESTER Disorder
Thu November 02 2023 - NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social Club
Fri November 03 2023 - BRISTOL Rough Trade Records
Sat November 04 2023 - LONDON Omeara

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