Albums of 2023: Dream Wife

A clarion call for compassion and humanity, on LP3 the punk trio are demanding the world does better.

When live music came roaring back in the summer of 2021, so did Dream Wife’s inspiration. They’d been trying to write new material for their third album throughout the pandemic, but everything they’d tried to wrangle out of that dull yet gloomy time ended up on the cutting room floor. “[The return of live music] fueled us with this fire,” explains vocalist Rakel Mjöll. “Every time we play a show, that’s when a light bulb goes off, that’s when we get our inspiration. We remember who we’re writing to.”

The album’s recently-released blazing lead single ‘Leech’ is a total embodiment of the trio’s desire to capture the full spectrum of the live music experience - its rawness, its energy, its sense of community, but also its darker side. As much joy as live music brings, it isn’t always a totally safe environment for women and non-binary people, with sexual harassment rife in live music venues, and too many men in bands or behind the scenes who are more than happy to abuse their power.

“At our shows, we try to implement safe spaces, but that is something that not just an organisation or a band can do – it has to be the whole community,” says Rakel. “It’s a very important part of our shows, that people can let loose and enjoy themselves and feel safe.” “It’s not like we’ve come back to the music scene and all these [issues] have gone away,” adds guitarist Alice Go. “Coming back, [we have to] remember why it’s so important to uphold that conversation and [maintain] our part in that.”

“Empathy is one of the most important things we have as humans.”

— Bella Podpadec

’Leech’, however, isn’t just about calling out the industry’s predators. “It’s honouring community, it’s not just a song about frustration,” asserts Rakel. “It’s really just about owning your space.” Simultaneously calling upon the community to “have some fucking empathy,” it scorns those who become part of the problem by deriding others or staying silent. “It’s the sidelines,” they say, “that hurt most.”

“Empathy is one of the most important things we have as humans,” adds bassist Bella Podpadec. “There’s this idea that you have a certain amount of empathy and it’s a character trait, but [actually], empathy, like a muscle, can be strengthened. [By] coming together in music spaces, we can build our capacity to feel care and empathy for each other. That’s important for all of humanity coming forward.”

Dream Wife remain mostly tight-lipped about what’s to come on their forthcoming third LP, but the words that constantly come up are “rawness” and “humour”. Indeed, their second single, in contrast to ‘Leech’, will see them lean into their lighter side. “When we’re together, we have a lot of fun, and being silly has always been part of our exchanges as a unit,” says Alice. “It’s okay to have fun, and you can still, alongside that, make a statement. They don’t have to be completely separate entities. We have a laugh together and it’s a shame not to include that in our writing as well.”

Rakel grins. “Our shows have mosh pits AND conga lines!”

Tags: Dream Wife, From The Magazine

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