Album Review: Wife Patrol – “Too Prickly for This World”

Posted: by The Editor

Too Prickly for this World, the debut album from Indianapolis’s Wife Patrol, is as sharp as its name promises. What makes this album shine is its incisiveness and impact, in both sound and messaging.

The three-piece act of Nicole O’Neal, Natasha O’Neill, and Greg O’Neill take on so many twists in sound that the record itself feels relentless. Every chord, every drum pattern, every lyric is so deliberate in tone. Opening on “Why Do I Keep Doing This To Myself” gives way to Wife Patrol’s love of metal and punk, but don’t assume anything about this band at the opening: they’ve got so much variety locked in that they become impossible to pin to any one genre.

Take playful friendship ballad “Let’s Hang Out.” In a time where many of us may have distanced connection, the track is a loving reminder of what it’s like to be pulled out of rut by a friend. Nicole’s rolling bass lines feel like the text message that your best friend is headed over, or the honking of a horn to get your ass outside and get going. Core chorus “I wanna say that you’re the one/Making Purgatory fun/You, you’re not just anyone/Let’s hang out until the sun goes down” just showcases that gorgeous, unforgettable connectivity and solidarity locked into a danceable beat. It’s a reminder of what we have, what we’ve missed, and what we can look forward to in safer times.

The record showcases how dynamic in sound Wife Patrol gets in slower, harmonic tracks like “Valentine Citrus.” The swirling mixed vocals and build-up show just how much this band has melded their collaborative songwriting to reflect their unified messaging. They write together, they sing together, they play together feels like as central to their style as it is their message in the record itself. Everything they say, they say together. The gorgeous theme just repeats in stomping strings-inflected “Starlight Sun.”

Every aspect of this record is thought-provoking, from the rhythmic and symbolic storytelling in “Spyro” to thumping anthems like “Girl Cactus” and “Microphone.” It’s “Absolute” that carries the most weight, in its message of unpacking the trajectory of women growing and challenging the systems they’ve lived in. There’s such an impact here in the lyrical delivery in “Absolute,” but that can be said throughout all of Too Prickly for This World. They’re a band who captures the weight of the world, the push-and-tug toxic relationships, the beauty of a close friendship, and the feelings of being caught in a storm, all in sound.

Variety style and impactful lyrical meaning are the two key pieces to Too Prickly for This World, and they’ve mastered it with every track. With each listen, it only grows sharper.

Too Prickly for This World is now streaming everywhere.


Amanda Starling | @starlingaj

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