Strong Feelings

If a music blogger is only as old as the songs he reviews I have been getting ever more youthful. And my slide backwards has never been more apparent than with this latest track-of-the-week. Strong Feelings, was only released last month as a taster for Dry Cleaning‘s forthcoming album, New Long Leg, due out on 2nd April.

This is a music-only video uploaded by a YouTuber hiding behind the name of Worried Tunes. I chose it because I have strong negative feelings about the garish, strobing, pixelated scenes in the official video – flashing images that whack the eyeballs with the force of a stun gun in an abattoir. Strangely, though, the song itself kinda sneaks in by the back door, almost unnoticed. The drums start with a soft tickety, tick. The bass comes in with a brisk do, do, doo (and a do, do, doo …). A low female voice begins a monotonous commentary.

The words would have meaning in another context but, here, it remains completely obscure.

Just an emo dead stuff collector
Things come to the brain
Let’s look at the geophys

There is still no guitar, or, indeed, anything that could pass as a tune. And yet the insistent beat and intriguing lyrics have us hooked.

More puzzling words spill out over the minimal rhythm section. At the one minute mark, like Dylan in the Magic Roundabout, the guitarist stirs and plays a few slow single notes. It’s the musician’s way of limbering up. He tries some arpeggios, a few experimental strumming strokes. It works and the song rolls on with jangly, syncopated guitar chords added to the mix.

Tin glazed earthenware flower brick painted in blue
. . .
In the painting’s foreground, at the bottom is a famous anamorphic
Which when viewed sidelong is revealed to be a human skull

The band is in full flow now but, although the tap of creativity is open wide, there’s still little more than a minimalist trickle of sounds. Soon the bass-driven pump cuts out, the clockwork drummer stops mid stroke, the guitar and vocals slow and fade away. All that remains is faint echoes of Monochrome Set and Maxïmo Park.1


Lewis Maynard, Florence Cleopatra Shaw, Thomas Paul Dowse, Nicholas Hugh Andrew Buxton

The seeds of Dry Cleaning were sown in 2018 when Lewis (bass), Tom (guitar) and Nick (drums) got together in South London to compose and play some songs. A few months later they recruited a somewhat hesitant Flo as their lyricist and vocalist. They released two EPs in 2019, Sweet Princess and Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks. Here’s a rather nice video introduction to the band.

And that’s about all I know about Dry Cleaning. But the band has been in the news a lot recently and I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from them and about them in the months and years to come.


Footnote

  1. Other reviewers liken Dry Cleaning to Wire and Magazine but those bands are unfamiliar to the Crotchety Committee.

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