Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg
Whether there’s disaffected youth, a revolution on the way, or a new niche audience, people and record companies are trying to sell obtuse punk and post-punk to Britain. Too often, however, the efforts have been poor to mediocre. Whatever the state of the world, we’ve all probably heard enough men howling political slogans into microphones for one lifetime.
Happily, Dry Cleaning’s debut LP, New Long Leg is a different affair. Rather than fart out meaningless, angry cliches from behind an over-cultivated moustache, frontwoman Florence Shaw has something strange and interesting to say.
Opening track, Scratchcard Lanyard is breathed and spoken over a melodic indie riff from guitarist Tom Dowse. It’s accompanied by straightforward work from bassist Lewis Maynard and drummer Nick Buxton that becomes much more interesting on the next track, Unsmart Lady. Although it is a rare moment that showcases their live musicianship in a way that’s heard, it’s a song dominated, as the album is, by Shaw’s voice and lyrics. Here, she repeats the mantra that being nice to girls you like is a good idea – a sentiment that should perhaps have been learned at primary school that is sadly necessary to repeat in modern rock.
On the next and most thoroughly enjoyable song, Strong Feelings, there’s a joyous nod to Time Team’s geophysics team, in addition to mockery of art and garlic, and, in repetition, Europe. Musically, the rest tails off: there’s not much to be found beyond a good guitar line, abrasively spooky vocals and a decent rhythm section. The rest is more of the same, with one notable exception at the end.
Nonetheless, there’s something about Dry Cleaning – something perhaps found in John Wick’s lyrics, which place listeners alongside the titular hitman, the Antiques Roadshow or “the big Sainsbury’s”. Closing the album is Every Day Carry – a bizarrely brilliant mess of a song that tops seven minutes. One is rarely certain what they are going on about. but that’s a good thing.
Dry Cleaning will certainly be an acquired taste, and Shaw is no Poly Styrene… yet. There’s surely much to criticise here, but the first few tracks and their irreverence are just such fun for now – such that it’s a record showing more potential than their blokey contemporaries. New Long Leg is far from a polished album, but it comes from a band with much promise – and a proper punky one at that, whose live shows are bound to be fun, post-pandemic.
New Long Leg is released on 2nd April 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Dry Cleaning’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Scratchcard Lanyard here: