‘Sweet Princess EP’ illustrates the mind of over-thinkers

Elena Waldman

The U.K.-based band Dry Cleaning doesn’t have a long discography, but their six-song EP, “Sweet Princess EP,” shows plenty of promise for the group. Formed by Lewis Maynard (bassist), Nick Buxton (drummer), Tom Dowse (guitarist) and Florence Shaw (lead singer), the band came out with their debut project Aug. 16. 

Branded by some as a post-punk band, it’s clear to see how Dry Cleaning harnesses the frustration of punk music and creates a mature, chaotic sound from it. 


The opening track, “Goodnight,” is fast paced, and the opening guitar chords are met with a psychedelic arpeggio-like riff that establishes a unique, genre-bending sound. Shaw’s voice over the track is monotonous and spontaneous, which sounds less like a written script and more like a rambling stream of consciousness. This method doesn’t come across as lazy or awkward, as Shaw’s cadence perfectly meets the desperate rhythm of the song. The anxiety-ridden lamentations about the singer’s cat dying that ascend into an angry rant seemingly directed at a love interest are just as chaotic as the pace. 

If the first track seemed anxious, “New Job” takes it to a whole new level. This song is the most accurate manifestation of an over-thinker accounting their every social interaction that I can possibly think of. Though it diverts from subject matter almost too quickly for the listener to keep up, it always comes back to the singer’s thoughts as they talk to someone at a party. “New Job” comes to a full stop twice, making you think it’s over, and then starts up again — almost like starting, leaving and continuing a conversation at a party. Those who are unamused by small talk or even get uncomfortable with the spectacle of it might find solace in this song; or, it might just exacerbate their anxieties. 

“Sweet Princess” can be streamed on Spotify and Bandcamp

“Magic of Meghan” was Dry Cleaning’s first single, which was released earlier this year. Its repetitive chords complement Shaw’s rhythm, and the consistency of this sound is refreshing. I especially like the build-up of this song, which culminates into a ‘70s southern-California-esque riff. 

“Traditional Fish” feels entirely nihilistic, but not in a bad way. The lyrics initially come off as mindless, as Shaw lists off seemingly random things, but it comes together through the chant “Westminster Ridge Road.” Shaw’s tone mirrors the way it feels to drive on a familiar street whilst in a haze. In “Phone Scam,” Shaw revisits a fight and chants the words exchanged over and over again (“She said I was a horrible c*nt; she said I was a bastard). The repetition in this track makes it sound more like spoken-word poetry combined with distorted rock. 

“Conversation” has a distorted sound, and I like how the bass is much more prominent on this track. There’s also a really nice guitar riff mid-way through the song, which gives it more of a classic rock vibe. Shaw voices a phone call ring and answers the “phone,” which gives the song a playful feel. The method of storytelling through the lens of a fake phone call is also unique and refreshing. 

“Sweet Princess EP” feels overtly nihilistic, but not to a fault — it’s an honest depiction of millennial anxiety. It captures the nuance of social interaction and how it feels to overthink seemingly normal, everyday situations. 

Rating: 7.5/10

Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @WaldmanElena.