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Dream Nails - Take Up Space: Dream Nails Unplugged

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2019-01-25
Dream Nails - Take Up Space: Dream Nails Unplugged
Dream Nails - Take Up Space: Dream Nails Unplugged

It only seems right that Dream Nails would record their first live acoustic album in London’s oldest radical bookshop, Housmans. A DIY punk band putting activism, feminism, passion, and positivity to the front of everything they do. If you haven’t experienced one of their live shows then you’re really missing out (but you’ve got something genuinely exciting to look forward to). In the meantime Take Up Space: Dream Nails Unplugged is here to bring the bands live show directly to your front room.

The band’s positive message is put front and centre from the very start with new tune and live favourite in waiting, ‘Landlady’. The song finds vocalist Janey Starling freeing herself from negativity, “I won’t let you rent a room in my head/ I won’t hate myself for things I should have said”. The band's brilliantly melodic four-part harmonies taking centre stage. The overall mood is one of excitement and fun; the band filling the gaps between songs with plenty of chat and laughter.

Some songs are more overtly political than others yet, as the band explains themselves; the personal is very much political. Topics range from anxiously texting your crush (‘Chirpse Degree Burns’), desperate to be approved male feminist allies (‘Cookies 4 U’), creepy - I can be your hero, baby - men (‘Tourist’) and the self-explanatory call-to-arms ‘Fascism is Coming (Getting Out of Bed)’. And if you haven’t heard ‘Deep Heat’, their hex on misogynistic politicians, then you’re in for a real treat.

It’s a potent mix of “anger and joy” combined with a healthy dose of humour, explains guitarist Anya Pearson, that drives the songs forward. The band is always sure to put their politics into practice too, explaining their ‘girls to the front’ policy to the assembled bookshop crowd. The relationship between the band and their fans feels like a particularly important one for Dream Nails, always seeking to inspire, empower and connect with their audience.

Stripped-back the songs retain their sense of urgency while also gaining a newfound intimacy. This isn’t one of those sombre acoustic albums where they slow everything down though. ‘Merkury’ clatters along on the back of Lucy Katz’s giddy percussion and Mimi Jasson’s disco-esque bass line while the euphoric rush of ‘Swimming Pool’ matches Shonen Knife for good time vibes and Ramones-style backing vocals. Take Up Space is an engaging, energetic and resoundingly fresh 41 minutes.

Watching the news it might seem like everything is on the verge of collapse at the moment (did someone say Brexit?); thankfully Dream Nails are here to bring us a little punk-rock positivity. Do yourself a favour and pick up Take Up Space from the band's Bandcamp page; an album guaranteed to put a smile on even the most jaded face. If you haven’t let these ‘feminist punk witches’ into your life yet then there really is no better time to start.

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