3rd March 2020

Dry Cleaning @ The Shipping Forecast |Gig Review

Dry Cleaning…

A new four-piece band from South London, Dry Cleaning, are an amalgamation of sounds; mixing post-punk, new wave, and Americana. The band has wasted no time, and already released two EPs (Sweet Princess, Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks), signed to a label, and are travelling Europe and America. In a market where everything has already been done by someone before, this group has managed to find a gap, taking these influences from predecessors to create something new and fresh, keeping music stimulating and engaging.

The Support Act…

Pozi are a trio formed of a bassist, drummer, and violinist. Unsure of what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised, with their punk-esque meets ska style.

All three members sang, creating an interesting, and ever-changing sound throughout their set. I was reminded of songs such as Peter Gabriel’s Games Without Frontiers, and Robert Palmer’s Johnny and Mary. These songs are delivered in a matter of fact way, whilst the music drives the song forward at a pace, creating a sense of urgency, which is exactly what Pozi did.

Adding the Wendy James (Transvision Vamp) sounding vocals, in conjunction with the violin, helped to create a mesmerizing sound, reminiscent of early The Cure; a sound that can be lulling but also discomforting. Pozi have one album currently released, but it will be interesting to see where their music takes them and us.

The Headline…

Dry Cleaning are a band that, for once, the term unique can truly be used. If each musician were isolated, you would be able to hear both the talent that oozes from them all, as well as a wealth of influences that differ from each other. Like Talking Heads, Dry Cleaning have a collection of members that bring different influences and merge them into interesting, layered music, that is both captivating and enjoyable. 

Playing to a sold out crowd in a packed room, it is a strong sign this band must have something, and they did. To see this band live is an incredible experience, as the energy that is channelled through the band is ecstatic. The bassist seems to keep everyone grounded, to play in time and keep the collective sounding phenomenal. The dexterity with which the guitar is played is phenomenal, to the extent I could have easily listened to an hour of guitar alone. It helps to keep that constant energy and movement, whilst the spoken lyrics add a subdue layer, taking the mundane and turning it into something interesting. Add in the driving drums, played with such ferocity at times (just looking at the symbols, you can see they have taken a beating), it is impossible not to move, or in my case, stomp a foot and awkwardly float between two people.  

A blistering set was performed, performing Sweet Princess in full, as well as five of the six songs from their EP, Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks. Unfortunately, there is just not any more material from the band to perform, but that leaves the audience wanting more, which is often the best way to leave them. With two superb EPs without one weak song, there will be no doubt new material to sink into soon, and I have no doubt the lyrics will continue to take the mundanity of everyday life, and make it profound, and occasionally humorous – mainly due to the relatability. 

Dry Cleaning’s handwritten setlist.
Image Credit: The Author

Playing in near-darkness, Dry Cleaning created a moody atmosphere, one that meant your attention was only ever focused upon them, but more so, their music. Whilst the dark – and often – haunting new wave sounds lingered, the post-punk tensions began to rise, with this darkness added another element, a feeling of an underground movement not yet scene, the forgotten about to rise. As the audience sizes grow, there is no doubt that this band, too, will rise…

Take A Listen…

Whilst Dry Cleaning are now set to play a string of dates across Europe and America, you can listen to their EPs below, and also check-out their fantastic support act, Pozi: