The debut double drop from the Our Wicked Lady family band—which “emerged among the slurry of slayers” last year—includes a song about striving to break dark cycles and another occupying the space between one’s dream world and reality
The world is full of possibilities. Endless opportunities to follow our own hearts, decide our destinies, pursue our passions…
If only it were that easy.
Sometimes we have an idea but can’t manage to make it a reality. We try and we fail, or life simply gets in the way. Plans are foiled by people, accidents or obligations; dreams are derailed by debt, tragedy or just time. Meanwhile, for some of us it’s hard to even find our purpose, our place. We try this and attempt that, throwing jobs and hobbies and relationships at the wall of our lives to see what sticks, hoping to slowly, eventually feel our way towards fulfillment.
In other words: pinpointing the destination can be difficult; staying on the path is sometimes impossible. And that’s precisely why it’s so satisfying and so spectacular—a bit of magic and a small miracle—to witness someone existing exactly in their element, doing just what they’re meant to do. Especially when you discover they’ve only recently begun doing it.
While Sarah Hamilton is an actress who grew up doing theatre and penning poetry, WifeKnife is her first band, but it’s obvious from the moment she steps up, grabs the mic and starts singing that she’s found her place as a frontwoman and songwriter, crafting the lyrics to the band’s songs and throwing herself down and around the stage and through the audience like a woman possessed while performing them. Both her knack for and love for this newfound role are evident, and this is what makes a WifeKnife show so compelling. She’s completely absorbed in the action, and you’re 100% along for the ride.
All that said, while Sarah may utilize the space and serve up the energy (and intense eye contact) of at least six people, she’s certainly not alone up there.
What could almost be described as the Our Wicked Lady family band, WifeKnife includes Sarah, who runs private events and socials for the venue, and OWL co-owner Keith, as well as talented bandmates who’ve certainly graced the venue with their personal presence and creative power—like thousands of Brooklyn artists have—since it opened eight years ago.
Or, as the band tells their origin story and sells their live vibe: “Somewhere among the slurry of slayers, WifeKnife emerged in the spring of 2022. Benny Oastler, Ramsey Elliott and Marcello Ramirez create a wall of razor-sharp sound, while vocalist Sarah Hamilton alternates between cradling and convulsing the crowd and Keith Hamilton blasts the beats.”
While WifeKnife has been playing around Brooklyn since last spring, the band has yet to release music—until now. And I’m truly honored, and quite thrilled, to premiere the two-track release here.
The first slice of WifeKnife comes in the form of two cuts. One is a dark, creeping track that crescendos with Sarah’s haunting howls on top of her husband’s heavy drums as she, a daughter and a mother, sings and screams about breaking the family cycle of addiction. The other is a fast and furious head-banger through which she, backed by the band, sucks you into her nightmare then spits you out with your head-spinning, giving you a moment to catch your breath and get your bearings before reaching out, grabbing on and dragging you back in again.
Ahead of the official release (and release show!) tomorrow, WifeKnife sent over the tracks for a sneak peak, while Sarah offered some intel on the meaning, and the making, of each of the songs:
Oh these sins repeat / Oh these sins repeat / Memories aren’t just Memories / They carry this disease / But I’ll face the freight / keep her safe / love her better / Can i take the weight
Sarah says: “The lyrics poured out quickly but then it was a journey for me finding the tone and really just allowing myself to start out in a vulnerable place. I originally fit the lyrics to a different instrumental that the gents had worked out (now ‘Move On’) and then I realized they needed to switch. This song needed to take its time, start out slowly and build, kind of like a freight train. It’s right there in the lyrics: ‘Blackout nights blackout days, lights are out it’s all the same. Full steam to nowhere, no track behind that train.’ Someone very close to me once described addiction that way and I never forgot it – like you’re on a runaway train, and the track is disappearing behind you as you go. But ‘Blackout’ is also about striving to break those dark cycles. About my father doing better than his, and me striving to do better than my father for my daughter, the light of my life.”
Place a bell on my finger / And a kiss on my eyes / If this isn’t a Dream / Hell is no surprise
Sarah says: “One of our newest and hardest songs. Ramsey came into rehearsal with a sick riff one day and ‘Dead Ringer’ was born. I had some lyrics I was working on at the time, the lyrics and instrumentals informed each other and were finished in tandem.
I have a very vivid dream life, unfortunately they’re often nightmares. You wake up feeling shaken, still in a haze, kind of in that place between reality and these crazy worlds your mind puts you in. That feeling was my main inspiration for the lyrics, and it contains a lot of those doubles… light/ dark, living/ dead, heaven/ hell. She sees her lover, but he seems to be shape-shifting, is he there to save her or send her to her end? Yeah, pretty dramatic. I loved to read stuff like Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe from the time I was ten so I guess you could say I have some very dramatic influences haha.
There’s a line in this song, ‘Place a bell on my finger, and a kiss on my eyes, if this isn’t a dream, hell is no surprise.”
‘Safety coffins’ were invented in the late 1800s, inspired by the story of a girl who was nearly buried alive. A string was tied to the hands and feet of the body and the other end was tied to a bell outside the coffin that would ring if the body moved. It’s a common misconception that the phrase ‘dead ringer’ originated from this bell invention. Since writing this song I learned it doesn’t. But it’s a badass name and I think it works for the song so I’m not changing it haha.”
“Blackout” and “Dead Ringer” are out everywhere TOMORROW! Celebrate the release that night on the Our Wicked Lady roof and see WifeKnife in action with Jelly Kelly, Whaat and Datapool. Grab your tickets here.
Follow WifeKnife at @wifeknifeband.
Feature image, provided by the band: Nicole Miller