4-piece pop-punk band Dream Nails have delivered their self-titled debut album that is equal parts head-banging fun and riot grrrl rock, with powerful messages.
If you’ve never heard of Dream Nails before, think thick fuzzy basslines, punchy drum beats, and big choruses. In this record, they sing on a variety of topics, from sexy personal trainers and anxiously awaiting a WhatsApp message from a crush, to heavier topics such as sexual assault and the fetishisation of queer women. Here are my four favourite tracks off the album, and why.
Jillian is a fun, tongue-in-cheek song about fancying a personal trainer called ‘Jillian’ (actually based on American “workout expert” Jillian Michaels) who is famous for her 30-day shred workout videos. “I want your arms, I want your arms around me” they sing. The recurring guitar instrumental line has a surf rock sound, bringing the Beach Boys to mind, which fits well with the lyrics and beach fantasy.
This track is catchy, it’s fun and it makes you want to dance. Though, it’s not as shallow as it initially seems. Jillian is also a song about self-acceptance and finding strength, “I feel the fear leaving my body” they sing in the bridge. Many songs about coming to terms with sexuality and finding one's identity are melancholic, but Dream Nails wrote a song that is purely celebratory and cathartic.
As a 9-5 office worker, this track is highly relatable and is one of my favourite tracks. The verses consist of nauseating office phrases and acronyms such as “KPI”, “touching base”, and “flagging up”. In a world that tells us we should place tremendous value on our jobs, it was refreshing to hear someone say what many of us are really thinking in these lyrics.
The chorus is huge, simple, and says it all - “you are not your job, work is not life, you are not what you need to do in order to survive” they collectively scream. It’s got a great guitar riff played by Anya, and is an all-round banger.
Kiss My Fist
The track starts with a solid bassline played by Mimi, followed by Janey’s gentle double-tracked vocals with lyrics “You like us on the video, you like us when you have control”. These lyrics are very poignant and sadly relatable to queer women who are sexualised by society, whilst also mocked, and historically denied rights given to straight women.
This song has a phenomenal build-up. I was particularly interested in the pre-chorus where the lines “do you want us on your screens, do you want to hear us scream” are accompanied with a high-energy dynamic tom drum pattern played by Lucy, and that combined with the sweet harmony is a great contrast with the heavy, anthemic chorus that’s to come.
I like the layering of this song, there’s a lot going on but it’s not chaotic - you can hear and appreciate each part. It’s worth noting that they use backing vocals very well in their tracks, giving the songs a sense of community and universality.
Starting with a drum roll and a scream, this powerful song is my favourite. It opens with a fantastic heavily distorted riff, giving it a hard rock/metal vibe. The verse is contrasting, it feels more spaced out and the wet reverb on the guitar and vocals gives it a new wave vibe, bringing to mind bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cure. I imagine this pause gives the moshers a break between the intensity of the choruses, and allows for some reflection.
Payback is a song about the historical injustice for survivors of sexual violence - in the UK, only 1.5% of rape cases lead to a charge of summons. In this track, Dream Nails voice their anger over this injustice. The track is accompanied by a lyrical video showcasing some of the work of Sisters Uncut, a direct action group that is opposed to cuts to UK government domestic violence support services.
Overall, this is a really strong, well-produced album that demonstrates their musicality. Their combination of impactful lyrics about what’s going on in the world around them, and songs that are lighter and fun is a truly refreshing mixture. They are great live and so I can’t wait to see them playing these songs at a gig, and recommend you catch one of their shows when they are able to tour again.
Buy their debut album or stream their singles here.