Dream Nails – Take Up Space (Unplugged)

Unplugged, Dream Nails fly the flag for female rhetoric and unearth a steadfast sisterhood at the heart of their punk rock ferocity

Album Review by Cheri Amour | 23 Jan 2019
  • Dream Nails – Take Up Space
Album title: Take Up Space
Artist: Dream Nails
Label: Self-released
Release date: 22 Jan

When former Mouseketeer Christina Aguilera released Stripped, she was ready to shrug off her pop-star exterior and show the world who she really was. Lead single Dirrty jarred press and publications alike but its underlining message felt far more potent than that bikini bralet. Aguilera’s stripped-back pop sheen revealed the female rhetoric at the heart of her songs and inner beauty that unified sidelined communities and marginalised outcasts.

Nearly two decades on and London feminist punks Dream Nails have also stepped back from the studio-soused pedals and clattering crash cymbals to serve up a collection of acoustic versions of live show favourites and previous DIY singles. Take Up Space finds the band nestled between the bowing bookshelves of Housmans Bookshop in North London, where it was recorded, drummer Lucy Katz’s kit balancing atop Delia Smith’s homely Herbs and Spices tome, but this foursome is far from domestic.

Instead, they dish out three-minute power punk moments on creepy guys preying on your vulnerability (Tourist), self-preservation (Landlady) and the millennial realities of dating (Chirpse Degree Burns), all of which position the real heroes as the persistent women enduring life’s day-to-day. A particular highlight is Jillian, a whimsical ode to American fitness training elite Jillian Michaels which finds lead singer Janey Starling taking on the 30 Day Shred between tracks. You’re treated to the natural witticisms and off-the-cuff quips that make this group so enchanting, and everything from their sly disses at one another through their horoscopes and collective disdain of white cis men’s rampant entitlement is covered. After all, as Starling admits to the gathered crowd at Housmans: "What’s the point of being a feminist band if your audience feels like shit?"

Unplugged, Dream Nails fly the flag for female rhetoric once more and unearth a steadfast sisterhood at the heart of their ordinarily-punk-rock ferocity. As Aguilera herself might put it, it’s about time for their arrival.

Listen to: Jillian, Chirpse Degree Burns, Bully Girl