Since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2020, queer punk collective Dream Nails have not stood still. Now signed to Marshall Records, they bring us album No. 2, ‘Doom Loop’ produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, Amyl and the Sniffers, The Fall). Dream Nails have developed into a political eco-system with their music at the very heart of what they do. The four piece use their creativity to not only entertain but educate and spread empathy, there is also a sprinkling of humour too.
Opener ‘Good Guy’ was the first single. The use of this phrase can likened to a fake ID, lulling people in only to take advantage of them. The instrumentation matches this theme. Strong and passionate, it is a statement of intent by Dream Nails. ‘Case Dismissed’ is punk with its off-kilter pace and scuzzy guitar. The vocal harmonies add to the urgent, heavy tone of this track perfectly in tune with its theme.
‘Geraniums’ begins with the most glorious static-fuelled scuzzy guitar which then heads into rock ‘n’ roll, Dream Nails style. The title belies the subject, of the struggles of a young person discovering themselves. Raw and honest yet wrapped in a thunderous soundscape, rather than wallowing in self-pity.
‘Prevenge’ is a highlight on ‘Doom Loop’. Edging into heavy rock it will be a mosh-pit favourite. Wild, screeches guitars and a breath-taking drum part. Love the stop mid-track. ‘Monster’ follows and if this track also follows in their live shows then the dancefloor will be mayhem. Dark and doom-laden it is a warning to us all to pay attention, do not be drawn into toxic behaviour.
On first listen the slower-paced ‘Sometimes I Do Get Lonely, Yeah’ appears vulnerable and honest. However listen closer. This is a gear change in style and is so smart as it is the narration from another point of view. The result is thought-provoking and impossible to ignore.
So serious question time, is that actually scissors we can hear snipping away on ‘She’s Cutting My Hair’? Dream Nails can have such fun with their music. Yes they have their political and social commentaries but just as with ‘Text Me Back’ on the previous album they can have a lighter touch: “I’m looking in the mirror, she’s looking in the mirror too.”
Dream Nails want their music to inspire change, action and hope and on the second single from the album ‘Femme Boi’ they celebrate vulnerability, unity and trans freedom. It’s hooky chorus is immediately infectious, and the overall soundscape is one of dancefloor friendly rock ‘n’ roll. This is inclusivity at its very best, bringing all together. It’s followed by their latest single ‘Ballpit’ which addresses the defiant act of self-care, forcing us to be present, slow down and enjoy life. This is delivered with a disco-punk attitude. Indeed there is a hint of ESG in the dollop of funky guitar and bobbing beats.
‘Doom Loop’ closes with the biggest surprise of the album, the beautiful ‘Time Ain’t No Healer’. Led by piano it is slow, calm and meditative, soothing yet still thought-provoking. What an end to the second album by Dream Nails who prove on ‘Doom Loop’ that they have grown since their debut. Outspoken yet vulnerable, confronting yet honest, ferocious yet calm, guitarist Anya Pearson (she/her), bassist Mimi Jasson (she/her), vocalist Ishmael Kirby (he/they) and drummer Lucy Katz (she/her) explore all these emotions with confidence. Dream Nails are about self-expression, opening up so that others can find community and thus hope. Together they have succeeded in producing an album which welcomes us all into their world.
Words: Julia Mason