As Dream Wife gear up to release their third album, Social Lubrication, the London group have released the title track – a powerful riposte against patriarchal and gender-based violence.
The latest from the alt-rock trio, led by singer Rakel Mjoll, comes accompanied by a self-made video which represents the vast influences on display in their latest record, which arrives this Friday via Lucky Number Music.
Speaking to Rolling Stone UK, bassist Bella Podpadec explained how the song’s disco-tinged sound was deliberately at odds with its hard hitting message.
“It’s fun to play with expectations! Subverting upbeat rhythms and giving them deeper and darker depths lyrically potentially opens a listener to a deeper, less linear relationship to the content,” she explained.
“Also it’s hopeful. It’s expansive. It’s new ways to relate to the subject matter – using the power present in rhythm and melody and movement as catharsis – it’s dancing your demons away, it’s rattling the ropes with aim to shake free of them entirely, it’s shaking out the trauma, it’s remembering we’re alive now! How much there is to do and build and yes be angry about – but also an invitation into creative generative practices!
“It’s cheeky and sardonic at the same time as being cutting and deadly serious! To paraphrase the legendary anarchist Emma Goldman – if you can’t dance then it’s not our revolution.”
As for the song’s message, Podpadec explained how it acted as a “call to dismantle mechanisms of oppression.”
“Initially we weren’t sure that Social Lubrication was going to make it on the album. It has been an idea, a solid chorus, a beat, a melody we’d been turning around for ages but never quite managing to finish,” she said.
“It wasn’t until our final day in the studio and we were chatting about the themes and ideas we’d been working with for the album as a whole and it was as if Rakel was hit by a bolt of lightning! She went for a walk and when she came back she laid down the vocals in like 2 takes. It was so immediate and so encompassing of everything we’d been talking about throughout the whole album process it was instantly obvious to us that not only did the song have to go on the album it also had to be the title track.”
Opening up on how the track sees the band tackling systematic models of oppression, she added: “Social Lubrication is about questioning whose ease and comfort is prioritised when systems of oppression are glossed over in the name of comfort and ease. Social Lubrication is fossil fuel companies evangelising about recycling, is holding your tongue when your gran says something racist, is faith in capitalism, is royalty paying out to cover child abuse, is ‘boys will be boys’, is ‘grin and bare it’, is pretending not to hear that cat-caller, is getting drunk to numb the pain, is ‘protecting womens spaces’ at the expense of trans women safety, is spiritual bypassing, is systemic gaslighting, is refusing to rock a boat that really needs to be sunk – social lubrication is not good enough.”
Podpadec added: ” The lyrics move from unsolicited advice regarding behavior, presentation, skills, to gendered violence – ‘Your womb is a ticking time bomb’ – limiting a person with a womb to produce and then be disregarded. A product. To control. We also talk about date rape drugs in the lyrics – another attempt to control – ‘push him away say this wasn’t a meeting this wasn’t a date, you ain’t my mate this ain’t confusing, that’s the rear view mirror for fucks sake’. Muted, chugging and restrained guitars boil over into frenzied riff explosions, as the song lyrically moves between frustrations with the system at large, to calling out for revolution and coalition.
“The song is about being done with pouring grease on the mechanisms of oppression and instead a call to dismantle these machines in order to build better and more equitable societal structures for everyone. Better to make love to the universe than get fucked by the system.”
Ultimately, however, the group are hopeful that the song strikes a note of hopefulness.
“We’re hopeful that it can support people in whatever kind of change and transformative processes and practices they might be going through,” said Podpadec.
“Hopeful that it can provide some respite or solace or an opportunity to dance or scream or shake something free, or maybe feel a little more comfortable sinking into their pleasure and horniness or maybe to see the world in a slightly different way! The big changes that are needed on a societal level really need to come for structural change, mutual aid and community organising!”
After releasing their latest record this Friday, Dream Wife will also hit the road for a string of festival dates and headline shows. You can check out details of those below.
Tour dates (UK/IE tour in bold):
Thursday 8 June – London, UK @ The George Tavern
Monday 12 June – Kingston, UK @ Banquet
Tuesday 13 June – Brighton, UK @ Resident
Wednesday 14 June – London, UK @ Rough Trade East
Sunday 9 July – Glasgow, UK @ TRNSMT Festival
Friday 14 July – Austurvegur, Iceland @ LungA Festival
Friday 21 July – Huntingdon, UK @ Secret Garden Party
Sunday 23 July – Ireland, UK @ Forest Fest Music & Arts Festival
Friday 28 July – Thirsk, UK @ Deer Shed Festival
Friday 15 September – Brooklyn, NY, USA @ Brooklyn Made
Sunday 17 September – Portland, OR, USA @ Mississippi Studios
Monday 18 September – Seattle, WA, USA @ Barboza
Wednesday 20 September – San Francisco, CA, USA @ Bottom Of The Hill
Thursday 21 September – Los Angeles, CA, USA @ Zebulon
Thursday 5 October – Manchester, UK @ New Century Hall
Friday 6 October – Birmingham, UK @ Castle & Falcon
Saturday 7 October – Bristol, UK @ Strange Brew
Sunday 8 October – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Tuesday 10 October – Dublin, Ireland @ The Grand Social
Wednesday 11 October – Limerick, Ireland @ Dolans
Thursday 12 October – Galway, Ireland @ Roisin Dubh
Thursday 19 October – London, UK @ Electric Brixton
November 6 – Paris, FR @ Pitchfork Music Festival Paris