“[Dry Cleaning are an] honest and poetic post-punk quartet using observations of society to build intrigue and wit for their audience.”
You haven’t missed the memo; Dry Cleaning really are as fresh as your sordid linen you collected from your local establishment rid of the scars of the weekends antics. Dry Cleaning formed in 2017 as a trio after inspiration was found at a karaoke houseparty, and then to make matters even more unusual 6 months later Florence Shaw (who has a rock n roll day job as a university lecturer) joined the group on vocals having had no prior musical experience. Fast forward to late 2018 the band played their first gig and by 2019 we now have a brazen, honest and poetic post-punk quartet using observations of society to build intrigue and humour for their the audience.
“Dry Cleaning’s Sweet Princess is sprechesang to perfection, painting careful musical imagery for Florence to layer her part spoken part sung lyrics on.”
Sweet Princess opens with the groups most recent single which Goodnight featuring the lyrics “Goodnight sweet princess” in reference to Florence’s now deceased cat who in Goodnight has human tendencies having had a conversation with Florence about having “spat cum on the carpet of a Travelodge”. With every listen your ears zone in on different areas of peculiar imagery painted through the EP. Dry Cleaning’s Sweet Princess is sprechesang to perfection, painting careful musical imagery for Florence to layer her part spoken part sung lyrics on.
“[New Job is] the musical gem held back for the full release; the best bit of a roast dinner you leave till last to savour the taste.”
Dry Cleaning have had a 2-single campaign for this release both clear choices, but should the band have dropped another single New Job would have been the obvious choice. It is the musical gem held back for the full release; the best bit of a roast dinner you leave till last to savour the taste. New Job is the least abstract of the EP keeping the listeners attention and focus as Florence recounts her experience of a party in monologue form.
“Magic Of Meghan’s lyrics like so much of the album gradually ingrain themselves in your mind upon multiple listens.”
When seen on paper the title Magic Of Meghan (or more likely the Spotify app on your phone) you are led to correctly question whether ‘Meghan’ has anything to do with Meghan Markle, and yes you’re right it does. Florence has used Meghan Markle as a muse to discuss in lyrics the scrutiny of people in the public eye and the escapism we can get from following them. Magic Of Meghan’s lyrics like so much of the album gradually ingrain themselves in your mind upon multiple listens. Ironically as Florence delivers the line “Never has one outfit been designed, to send so many messages” the listener both immediately understands Florence’s reference but is also left questioning, how many messages the EP has been designed to send.
“[Sweet Princess’s first three tracks are] post-punk for pogoing [whilst the latter three are] post-punk for fans of musical expression, both with their own brilliance but with clear differences.”
Sweet Princess plays like a vinyl record of two halves, despite it being unlikely to be pressed to wax. The metrophorical side B features 3 lower tempo numbers showcasing the avant garde musicianship of the band; side A is post-punk for pogoing, side B is post-punk for fans of musical expression, both with their own brilliance but with clear differences.
“[Phone Scam’s guitar lick is] the kind of lick that confirms to the listener that Dry Cleaning are a band that are more than just Florence’s lyrics.”
Side B’s highlight is Phone Scam continuing to demonstrate diverse guitar work with its repetitive but memorable lick, the kind of lick that confirms to the listener that Dry Cleaning are a band that are more than just Florence’s lyrics. Regardless, Florence is never a lyricist to take the obvious route painting Phone Scam with fictitious ‘Parental Advisory, Explicit Content’ stickers due to her unruly delivery of words “cunt” and “dickhead”, no word is off limits for Florence Shaw.
“Sweet Princess proves that no matter how much music is released there is always going to be innovation.”
Traditional Fish and Conversation are sonically Marmite, the type of tracks that for some may be too forward thinking for everyone. Both featuring drone like post-punk chords and sprechesang will be a step too far for some, but the minds that test boundaries are the minds that push the world forward. Sweet Princess proves that no matter how much music is released there is always going to be innovation, Dry Cleaning are a refreshing take on post-punk when Brixton has started becoming a boring faux guitar jazz, drug infused hot bed of talent gone awry.
Out 16th of August on It’s Ok.
Words: James Wadsworth
The band will play the following dates in support of the EP:
16.08 – Green Man Festival, Breacon Beacons
21.08 – Shacklewell Arms, London
22.08 – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
23.08 – YES (Basement), Manchester
24.08 – Future Yard Festival, Birkinhead
19.10 – Simple Things Festival, Bristol
20.10 – SWN Festival, Cardiff