After a prolific 18-month period releasing two critically acclaimed John Parish-produced studio albums, New Long Leg (2021) and Stumpwork (2022), as well as last year’s companion release the five-track Swampy EP, South London’s Dry Cleaning are taking a moment to reflect on their journey and pay homage to their roots.
Dry Cleaning’s origin story is well known by now. Guitarist Tom Dowse, drummer Nick Buxton, and bassist Lewis Maynard had been friends and musical collaborators for years, and invited mutual friend Florence Shaw – a visual artist, picture researcher and drawing lecturer – to join the band in 2017. With clear musical influences from the Feelies, the Necessaries, the B52s and Pylon, and constrained by the small garage space they rehearsed in, Dry Cleaning were drawn to making simple music; direct and uncomplicated, anything superfluous was left behind. By March 2018 the group had recorded the six-track debut EP Sweet Princess with producer Kristian Craig Robinson at Total Refreshment Centre in a single day. Two months later, in May 2018, the band played their first live show in Dalston at the Shacklewell Arms, and released the EP in August. Sweet Princess was a thrilling debut, its dizzying and restless instrumentals with Shaw’s sardonic vocals delivering a satirical collage of witty observations and social commentary. A further 6 songs in the form of the Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks EP quickly followed two months after. It was named in tribute to the band’s rehearsal space in Maynard’s family’s south London (Sidcup) home, and to his mother Susan whose home-cooked meals sustained the four friends in between sessions. With singles like ‘Sit Down Meal’ and ‘Viking Hair’, Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks is a powerful companion to Sweet Princess. They share a similar pent-up energy, unsurprising given they came to life in the same environment those EPs were created in, an environment that had a huge influence on the band during those formative years.