I like lyricism. Real deep, emotional and emotive writing that reads like a Garcia Lorca poem, and you can spend all day really getting your teeth into, debating the true meaning down the pub (to this end, I have a Leonard Cohen tattoo and always carry a pocket book of his lyrics whenever I travel). However, sometimes you don’t want to have to have PhD in English Literature to enjoy a song (N.B your author does not have a PhD in English literature), and you just want something that sounds good and you can dance to. Enter Dry Cleaning.
Take ‘Conversation’, for example. ‘Followed by another porn account on Instagram/ is this a date right now?’ is a droll, clever line in a song full of them. In fact, almost every Dry Cleaning song has at least one moment of this sort of simply insightful commentary, the sort that you can digest whilst still bopping about. They drip off the tongue of front woman Florence Shaw so cleanly (ha!), and effortlessly, like your mate who knows she can sing so doesn’t need to put the effort in and still shows everyone else up. It takes a lot of talent to make a song about Meghan Markle sound cool, without being hacky, and it is managed in spades here.
In a sweaty Sneaky Pete’s, the stark repetitive guitars bounced off the walls in a way that seemed to add to the claustrophobia of the room, but in such a way as to bring the audience together instead of make them uncomfortable. A less accomplished live act could’ve turned or lost an audience on a night like this, but instead they had us gripped from the opening chords.
This isn’t to say it was a flawless set. There were some moments, as can happen with post-punk bands who still haven’t completely found their voices, where the songs seemed to fall into one another ever so slightly, and you lost what was going on. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but meant that the large number of people discovering the band for the first time that night may have felt a little bit alienated from the fans. However, this is really a small nitpick, and nothing that would’ve stopped them walking out into the Edinburgh night having enjoyed the gig overall.
In all, this was a confident foray by a still relatively new band, although one that could do to have a little more time spent considering track ordering. However, once you’re caught up in the spirit and the mood of the show that matters little. Two EPs down, the band must be about gearing up for a full album release and I look forward greatly to adding it to my vinyl collection, like the hipster I am.