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Another great post-punk album, again from south London, this time by the band Dry Cleaning and their singer Florence Shaw.

From Christian Lehner

In the beginning was the Word. Then came Gil Scott-Heron. Later the rap. Then there was and is always great spoken music by Laurie Anderson, Leonard Cohen, Mark E Smith (The Fall), Nick Cave, Billy Nomates, Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys), Jason Williamson (Sleaford Mods), Isaac Wood (Black Country, New Road), Kate Tempest, James Murphy (LCD sound system), Anne Clark and many more.

And now there's Florence Shaw's chanting. Dry, low-expression, speaking and yet with a force, as if all the characters that we hammer into our input devices in one day would fly around our ears like a swarm of gels. It's because of the words.

As an introduction - and because this site has no character limits - the full text of the first single "Scratchcard Lanyard" from the new album "New Long Leg" by Dry Cleaning:

Many years have passed but you’re still charming
Rose falling and exploding
And you can't save the world on your own
I guess
Don’t send me it
You keep it
You keep it
You keep it
Weak arms, can't open the door
Kung fu council
It'll be okay, I just need to be weird and hide for a bit
And eat an old sandwich from my bag
I've come here to make a ceramic shoe
And I've come to smash what you made
I've come to learn how to mingle
I've come to learn how to dance
I've come to join your knitting circle
I've come to hand-weave my own bunkbed ladder
In a few short sessions
It's a Tokyo bouncy ball
It's an Oslo bouncy ball
It's a Rio de Janiero bouncy ball
Filter, I love these mighty oaks, don’t you?
Do everything and feel nothing
Wristband, theme park, scratch card, lanyard
Do everything and feel nothing
Do everything and feel nothing
Pat dad on the head
Alright you big loudmouth
And thanks very much for the Twix
I think of myself as a hearty banana
With that waxy surface
And small delicate flowers
A woman in aviators firing a bazooka
A woman in aviators firing a bazooka
I've come here to make a ceramic shoe
And I've come to smash what you made
I've come to learn how to mingle
I've come to learn how to dance
I've come to join the knitting circle
That's just child chat
Why don't you want oven chips now?
It's a Tokyo bouncy ball
It's an Oslo bouncy ball
It's a Rio de Janiero bouncy ball
Filter, I love these mighty oaks, don’t you?
Do everything and feel nothing
Wristband, theme park, scratch card, lanyard
Do everything and feel nothing
Do everything and feel nothing
You seem really together
You’ve got a new coat
New hair
Well, I'll tell you one thing
You’ve got it coming
One day, you're gonna get it
Ha

"There is a lot of violence in this text," says Florence Shaw in the FM4 interview. “A friend said this was probably about revenge. I didn't want to contradict him. ”In contrast to many songwriters, Shaw does not retreat to the position of refusing to interpret. Nevertheless, you do not get instructions for use on how to digest your drawing salad. “I write impulsively and I also use lines that I picked up somewhere. The deeper meaning will probably only be revealed to me in a few years. Or maybe there is no meaning behind the texts. "

"Do everything and feel nothing" - a pop lyric of the year

It can be left that way. But you don't have to. The lyrics can easily be read as disguised relationship dramas. There are a lot of lousy guys around and Shaw wants to see blood. So that this does not immediately lead to an arrest by Scotland Yard, Florence Shaw sprinkles everyday observations, slogans and apparently senseless sentence constructions on the poison cake. The fact that these collaged lyrics produce amazingly accurate images of our time is a strong by-product of Shaw's lyrics.

Ed Miles

Or: When scouring the lines, the Brexit detector that you turn on in every British band these days doesn't work for a long time, but when an accented “It's Europe, it's Europe” emerges from the string of words in the song “Strong Feelings”, it builds up between the ears the association comes together as if by itself. Holy Brussels, it's a creed!

These cognitive barbs can be found in many texts. Shaw states that she is interested in her position as a woman in this world and in the systems of order in our society. Alienation is a catchphrase that was capitalized not only in the original post-punk of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

While factory chimneys still smoked in the background of the music among the ancestors like Joy Division and The Fall, Florence Shaw takes a seat in the pre-pandemic open-plan office. With a mixture of Kafka and Gervais (“The Office”) hierarchies and their absurd symbols come into focus. The title of the above-mentioned song "Scratchcard Lanyard" is a word created from the terms "scratch card" and "neck strap". The lot stands for arbitrariness and chance, the ribbon for access to power and consumption. The upgrading of the existence is done by hanging a plastic card. Access authorization to work, money and leisure time dangles from the lanyard. This is how these boring ribbons become a status symbol and distinctive feature. Anyone who has ever worn a festival pass around their neck knows the feeling.

“I think it's amazing that something as rudimentary as a band of cards has a name of its own,” says Florence Shaw. "As if it were a species."

Or: With the line “Do everything and feel nothing”, Shaw has already qualified for the fictional Grammy category “Zeitgeist Lyric of the Year”. In 2021 nothing similar has been released into the world of pop music.

Briefly about the music

The fine artificial excitement takes place with Dry Cleaning without the negative side effects of high blood pressure and self-righteousness. Bassist Lewis Maynard, drummer Nick Buxton and guitarist Tom Dowse weave a carpet of sound for Shaw's lyrics that, when it is particularly pumping, is more reminiscent of white and red boogie than white bread funk.

You can hear the noble reluctance of these three very accomplished noise men, who reportedly used to work hard on hardcore. They press in the right places, the sound rarely spills over the words. Everything is simple here. That is precisely why one looks forward to unleashed concerts when they can take place again.

"New Long Leg" is the debut album of the not so young quartet from south London. Incidentally, dry cleaning has nothing to do with the fresh scene around the Windmill Club. When it comes to urgency, they are in no way inferior to the venue post punks of Goat Girl, Black Midi, Shame, Sorry, Black Country, New Road.

Anyone yawning here has not been awake for a long time.