ALBUM REVIEW: Dream Nails – Dream Nails (Alcopop! Records)

Dream Nails are a four-piece DIY punk band founded in 2015 by feminist activists, who mix unapologetically political content with pop-punk joy.

They’ve built a growing fanbase in the UK and around Europe with their feelgood live shows, where the empowerment of women is always to the fore.

This is their debut album proper, but a few of the songs feel like old friends, having previously featured on the self-styled punk witches’ 2019 live acoustic album Take Up Space! (check it out on Bandcamp here).

Opener Jillian is an upbeat, catchphrase-filled banger about cult fitness coach Jillian Michaels, and features a short but delicious solo from guitarist Anya Pearson.

Corporate Realness is a dissection of the workplace bullshit many of us have to put up with on a daily basis, while Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns) is about the very modern dating dilemma of being ‘ghosted’ by someone you fancy.

Vocalist Janey Starling recalls 90s riot grrrl singers when she really lets loose, but where Dream Nails stand out from the pack is their three-part harmonies, such as on one of the standout tracks People Are Like Cities, where she’s joined by Anya and bassist Mimi Jasson, while drummer Lucy Katz pounds out a propulsive backbeat.

Vagina Police is about women retaining control of their bodies, while DIY, one of their earliest songs, is a positivity-packed anthem encouraging them to do things for themselves.

Dream Nails in the studio. Pic by Marieke Macklon.

The radio-friendly Swimming Pool, which reminds me of excellent noughties indie band The Pipettes, could have been one of the songs of the summer if the album hadn’t been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Payback is Dream Nails at their heaviest and most dream-poplike, within the space of one song, while Kiss My Fist is their defiant response to the sort of neanderthals who view women as sex objects, but are unhappy when they openly express their sexuality.

If you get what Dream Nails are all about, this record is one you’ll want to play over and over again. 8/10.

Gary Welford owner