Dry Cleaning – Sweet Princess

Picture credit: Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz

There are times when you realise that unknowingly you have been waiting for a certain encounter and such is our feeling with the debut release from UK outfit Dry Cleaning. The Sweet Princess is a fascinating chunk of post punk/new wave drama which is openly inspired by the dark glories of the eighties but revels in an imagination and creative irreverence which wholly belongs to the London based quartet.

With a karaoke party in 2017 inspiring an instrumental collaboration, Dry Cleaning found its whole and voice with the addition of Florence Shaw six months later, she with no prior musical experiences joining Lewis Maynard, Tom Dowse, and Nick Buxton. Together they recorded the six-track Sweet Princess EP before playing their first show only last year which has been followed by headline shows and a tour with NYC’s Bodega. That live presence has already urged keen interest which their debut as a full introduction can only embrace and further ignite.

To try and place the sound of Dry Cleaning, it sits somewhere between Pylon and the Au Pairs with an originality which embraces some familiar hues but twists them to its own inventive devices. Shaw’s spoken word styled delivery sparks thoughts of Lesley Woods of the latter of the previously mentioned bands and at times The Anaemic Boyfriends, her words almost snatches of life and opinion woven together to create and echo kitchen sink situations as well as broader issues. EP opener, Goodnight quickly reveals it is a potent and striking incitement just as magnetically matched by the sounds which stride alongside. The first song concussively strikes like a sonic cobra before breaking into a virulent stride the Gang Of Four would be proud of. Vocals and rhythms collude in their temptation, the insistence of the latter led by the throbbing bass irresistible as guitars add their choppy lures and beats swing with matching rapacity. A melodic hook right out of the Buzzcocks songbook is extra manna to devour as it entwines the intimacy of word and reflection.

The following New Job quickly proved itself to be just as tantalising, also needing mere seconds and breaths to tempt and enslave as beats draw in another eagerly enticing hook aligned to the melodic tones of Shaw. Its punk breeding is soon released in flames of jangling guitar, a Raincoats meets early Cure spicing lining the track’s irreverence romance of discord.

An ode to the Duchess of Sussex and look at the intent and deeds of the media towards such celebrities, Magic of Meghan entangled ears in a guitar bred web from the off, appetite only further bound as the song  sets off on a sonic saunter driven by the band’s ever tenacious rhythmic nagging with its Artery-esque agility. As its predecessors, it burrowed deep within the skin and enslaved in no time, a prowess just as hungry within the dark crawling proposition of Traditional Fish. Even in its almost predatory prowl there is an energy which is pure incitement as too is the melodic and sonic wiring that threads its Feelies like body.

For all the references Dry Cleaning is a band which only uncages a sense of uniqueness in its sound as evidenced once more within Phone Scam. There is a Fire Engines hue to the guitar as the song shapes its refreshing presence around Shaw’s ever potent collage of words and phrases; that alone proving enough to incite greed though it is the delicious bass and drums propelled lure at its core which turned greed into lust.

Concluded by the keenly swinging sonic shimmer of Conversation, the song a final piece of dark and pulsating imagination, Sweet Princess is a release we for one cannot get enough of. Over far too soon, the EP sparked excitement as thickly as pleasure; at times that is a rare find in music but easy to imagine the first of many alongside Dry Cleaning.

Sweet Princess is out now via It’s OK; available @ https://drycleaning.bandcamp.com/releases

A

Rat Face Lewey – The Fall Of Man

Their new album might just declare The Fall Of Man but with eight slices of inventively rousing rock ‘n’ roll it also announces the rise of Rat Face Lewey.

The London based alt-rockers have certainly felt praise and support since emerging nine years back but with their latest offering it is easy to suggest that the British trio could now spark major attention. East Midlands hailing, Rat Face Lewey was formed by brothers, vocalist/guitarist Jonny and bassist Mav with Gregg on drums. Their sound rose on the inspirations of bands such as Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and The Manic Street Preachers and in 2013 formed a well-received debut album in the shape of Wonder Before Mess, a number of its tracks finding a place and longevity on playlists throughout the globe. A couple of Matthew Hyde produced singles in Dead in the Ground and Digital Prison two years later only enhanced the band’s reputation and rise up the ranks of the British rock scene, a position under the threat of far loftier heights through the ear gripping holler of The Fall Of Man.

The album opens up with Tell Your Friends About Me and a combined vocal introduction which had ears on keen alert before earthy riffs and punchy rhythms took a firm hold. Swiftly a hard rock scented amble breaks free as vocals continue to impress, eager catchiness soaking every wire from the guitar and each controlled yet boisterous rhythm. Imagination equally is at potent play as the song twists and turns with magnetic enterprise revealing that the band’s sound has moved far away from those early influences to find its own predominate identity though at times there is a great Terrorvision like whiff to it.

As strong and stirring as it is, the first track is quickly eclipsed by its successor. Comfortable entices with an engaging guitar beckoning which soon sparks a bouncing punk ‘n’ roll stroll with a Green Day-esque hue to its infection. Contagious in every essence, the track incited mutual spirit and bounce before The Pirate Song washed up on the shores of temptation, a guitar shimmer springing a shapely melody which in turn ignites a rapacious hook equipped rock canter. Continued animation in that hookery combined with anthemic vocal calls singular and united shape our favourite moment within the album, its shanty like swing the froth to its creative ale.

Replaced is next up, another calm but resourceful thread of guitar ensuring close attention confirmed by Jonny’s voice before being surrounded by a larger web of stirring sound. Mav’s bass again provides a delicious gnarly tone to its throaty lines whilst all the while the song shares unpredictable twists and tenacious turns to prove a rival for that best moment choice as too does its successor, Fight My Noose, thanks to the best opening to a track on the album. Straight away it nagged at the senses, guitar and bass stirring instincts with their united persistence. As the song continued to expand there is no lessening of its potency and manipulation, a punk breeding firing up song and passions alike.

The album’s title track follows, prowling with feral breath even as harmonies and melodies wrap its untamed heart. Defiance and angst soak its every note and syllable, its enraged roars as gripping as its melodic and sonic adventure.

The final pair of This Turtle and Belong to Yourself equally reveals additional shades to the band’s sound. The first is a contagious slab of punk ‘n’ roll bordering on pop virulent but hungrily muscular with the second a fire of melodic and infectious energy as composed as it is impassioned and imaginatively crafted. While maybe not as commanding as those before it, it makes for a fine end to a richly enjoyable and accomplished release which should put Rat Face Lewey firmly on the map.

The Fall of Man is released Sept 6th.

http://www.ratfacelewey.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/Ratfacelewey/

Pete RingMaster 06/09/2019

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