This Friday, London-based band Dry Cleaning will release their debut album, New Long Leg, on 4AD. Today, they release its third single/video, “Unsmart Lady,” which follows “Strong Feelings” and “Scratchcard Lanyard,” plus their recent television debut on Later…with Jools Holland.
“Unsmart Lady” is driven by a pleasing bone-rattling grunge groove and lyrics about body image. The band’s lyricist Florence Shaw says, “’Fat podgy, non make-up’ – I was thinking about these things that are supposed to be a source of shame about your appearance and wanting to use them in a powerful way. Just trying to survive when you feel knackered and put-upon and shit about yourself, but you say, ‘I don’t care what I’m supposed to be.’” The song’s Tilly Shiner-directed Hi8 analogue promo finds the band playing live in the humdrum suroundings of a south London carpet shop.
Dry Cleaning is Nick Buxton (drums), Tom Dowse (guitar), Lewis Maynard (bass) and Florence Shaw (vocals). Buoyed by the universal acclaim they received for 2019 EPs Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks and Sweet Princess, the south London foursome spent more and more of their lives on tour, refining their craft even further and developing a near-psychic knowledge of how to leave the right amount of space for each other in their songs. Their debut album New Long Leg, produced by John Parish, is more ambitious and complex, with Shaw’s spoken vocals tightly intertwined with the band’s restless instrumentals. Shaw extracts the most immense meaning from the most trivial things; she peppers the songs with a thousand tiny details, little witty asides about supermarkets, cupboards, beauty products and body parts add up to sonic landscapes that teem with the strange magic of ordinary life.