Dream Nails – ‘Dream Nails’ review: DIY punks lay out vision for feminist utopia

The London-based group bring California surf punk, ‘50s rockabilly, and positive affirmations to their dreamy new release

Dream Nails’ debut album has a spectacular opening; “I fear nothing and no one except the temptation to hold back,” vocalist Janey Starling and guitarist Anya Pearson proclaim fiercely. For a group that pride themselves on being “feminist punk witches”, it’s only fitting to kick off a record through a positive affirmation before walloping us over the head with a truckload of chaotic, pop-punk melodies.

Dream Nails – completed by Lucy Katz on drums and Mimi Jasson on bass – emerged on the capital’s punk scene in 2015, firing out fierce political pop songs about hexing the patriarchy, DIY culture, and feminism. On this debut, the four-piece hone in on their vision of girl love and solidarity creating an upbeat space for their fans to take solace in – it’s quite a world to step into.

‘Swimming Pools,’ a kooky mashup of ‘50s rockabilly and the theme show to a kids TV show from another dimension, is proof of their playfulness. Surf-punk opener ‘Jillian,’ is another cute number; a tongue-in-cheek ode to a workout instructor that sounds like the breakout song of a feminist punk musical. Much of the album is in a similar vein, reminding us “you are not your job” or “you are good enough” to solidify their vision of feminist solidarity.

The frustrations of millennial life are captured on ‘Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns),’ a song about being ghosted, and the fervour that takes over when analysing the tiniest details; “two blue ticks first it was a kiss and now it’s two blue ticks,” queries Starling.

They’re just as arresting when laying bare their righteous fury. ‘Vagina Police’ is a riotous explosion of fury that sounds like a lost cut from Kathleen Hanna-fronted dance-punks The Julie Ruin, and an interlude preceding it offers a necessary disclaimer in these TERF-ridden times, the band stating they stand in solidarity with all women, and do not believe all women have vaginas. ‘Kiss My Fist,’ a scathing reply to the homophobic men that attacked a lesbian couple on a London bus last year, rumbles away with a steady bassline as the band remain ready to stand up for anyone and to everyone.

By marrying their fun-lovin’ musicality with songs that stand up to injustices, Dream Nails rollicking debut will rattle around your head for days on end – for more reason than one.


  • Release date: August 28
  • Record label: Alcopop! Records