While it’s no secret that the Grammys have never been awarded to the most deserving artists, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow revealed how truly clueless these industry geezers are when he responded to criticisms of the Awards’ lack of female nominees by saying that women needed to “step up.” Besides being insensitive to the current cultural upheaval being spearheaded by women in entertainment who aren’t going to take anymore misogynistic treatment, it showed how truly ignorant he and the Academy are of the music being made these days.
Take Dream Wife, for example. As evidenced by the all-female UK three-piece’s eponymous debut (Lucky Number Music), they stepped up the moment they first strapped on their instruments and started making music together. The record is a brash mix of whipsmart riffs, spitfire vocals, and grrrl-powered lyrics. Spiritual descendants of the X-Ray Spex, the band careens through 11 tracks with just the right amounts of reckless abandon and sharp-edged precision, not to mention some vocal harmonies to sweeten the mix.
The record begins with “Let’s Make Out,” which is pretty much what you think it’s about, with singer Rakel Mjöll howling at some unnamed paramour to get it on. The album switches paths by track three, with “Love Without Reason,” taking a more measured approach instep with its content. Here, Mjöll croons more that she screams, positing, “Let’s be kids and fall in love.” Part of her charm throughout the record is her Icelandic accent, a way of pronunciation you should recognize if you’ve listened to anything Björk has done in the past 30 years. “Act My Age” similarly revels in youthful ebullience, but the record climaxes with its final cut, “F.U.U.” If you can’t figure it out, that stands for “fuck you up,” and it’s the perfect kiss-off on which to end this charged album. Like so many young women before them, Dream Wife aren’t seeking the approval of some old men in suits, and this record proves that they certainly don’t need it.