20th March | Exchange

The story of Dream Wife, the Anglo-Icelandic punk band set to play Old Market’s The Exchange on Tuesday, is the stuff of American indie flicks. Three irreverent women meet at an art school in Brighton. As part of one of their artistic projects, they form a fake girl band, put together a mockumentary, and start releasing music. Only, their music proves so striking that the punchline outlives the joke. They are now touring to promote their self-titled first album, which received near-universal approval from critics and fans alike.

Their punky DIY aesthetic and don’t-give-a-fuck lyrics sheet (“I am not my body,/ I am somebody”) balance an effortless coolness that comes with raw creativity. It’s boosted with that sense of excitement and fun that’s usually absent from art-school ‘cool.’ Though their loud, performative, feminist bangers have drawn predictable comparisons to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Slits (what female punk outfit hasn’t?), their sound falls somewhere closer to Pixies’ harder tracks and the raucousness of a pre-solo Björk in The Sugarcubes.

There’s a bit of wildness, a lot of intelligence, and a dramatic streak in play, which should promise an electric stage presence. With the topic of female physical empowerment currently more prominent than ever before, their subject matter – often feminist sexuality – should fall on friendly ears as they reach a wider audience.

Dream Wife will be supported by Bristol fuzz-rockers Drunken Butterfly and lo-fi groovers whenyoung. Drunk Butterfly are appearing as part of a mini-tour, offering up an unlikely mix of brazen punk and stripped-back folk. Irish group whenyoung are still relatively green, but with label-mates like Fat White Family, they have the ‘hot potato’ feel of a band who are on their way up. Expect a PJ Harvey-ish cocktail of force and vulnerability over a pulsing bass line.

See Dream Wife’s video for ‘Somebody’ here: