Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

Dry Cleaning – Scratchcard Lanyard

Greg wants to know if English post-punk still speaks to us…


Greg McMenamin: A song that encapsulates the seemingly inescapable numbness of depression, and the practical solutions offered by people who have never experienced it. The well-meaning parent who offers chocolate as a cure because they don’t have the language to express themself in any other way. The friends who suggest that “maybe you should try an evening class, get out there and meet some new people!” (Which results in going to a pottery class and trying your best to suppress the desire to smash a stranger’s ceramic footwear.) It presents a modern world in which the abundance of choice helps to perpetuate apathy rather than offering a solution for it.

Katherine St Asaph: I’d mentally filed Dry Cleaning away with Soccer Mommy and Phoebe Bridgers and various other acts I don’t love; if only I had taken the arduous step of actually listening and finding the sort of tense post-punk I do. The songwriting reminds me a bit of Sidney Gish; Gish is chipper and earnest where Florence Shaw is deadpan and detached, but they’re both the kind of songwriters who would nick their anhedonic plaint from a British tampon commercial. The cataloguing of summer-camp frivolities — smashable pottery of shoes, hand-woven ladders for bunk beds — is also reminiscent of Kate Atkinson’s apocalyptic Williams-Sonoma catalog in “Charlene and Trudi Go Shopping. While the lyric is slightly anachronistic — it feels made more for Groupon times than These Current Times — it still basically works, reveling in all the snappy phrases there are to describe all the cute activities you can bring your apathy to.

Nortey Dowuona: The bass and guitar are so awkwardly taped together that when Florence Shaw strides in, bored and haughty, intoning perfectly fine poetry against a heavily leaning left arrangement held together with struggling kicks and snares, the song feels like it’s being pushed closer and closer to the cliff. It then stumbles back towards Florence, who coldly pushes the song towards the cliff, continuing to intone, while the guitar finally begins to shriek and howl against the tape, slowly but surely lurching the mix away from the cliff and breaking free, snatching her with it, leaving the bass and drums to slowly walk away.

Ian Mathers: I choose to believe this is a “Kidney Bingos“, because that makes me happy.

Iain Mew: I like “Scratchcard Lanyard” as absurdist poetry, delivered with a keen ear for the possibility of different sounds (the juxtapositions of the title phrase, the rich chewiness of “that’s just child chat.”) I’m just not as convinced that the identikit post-punk adds much to it.

Edward Okulicz: Teenage me would have given this a 10, obsessed as he was with female vocals over arty guitar rock. The nonsense lyrics contain some particularly great sounding nonsense, with a bored but engaging delivery that makes middle-aged me think is still pretty cool in that detached way. 

Alfred Soto: When fans and detractors mention the Gang of Four influence, it’s thanks to tracks like “Scratchcard Lanyard,” which begins with a bass riff that might’ve anchored an album track on, say, Solid Gold. It’s got something to say in its laconic, droll manner, for which I credit Florence Shaw. “Do everything, feel nothing” are words for the times.

Reader average: [8.66] (3 votes)

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