Sunday, March 18, 2012

Album Review: Dry the River - Shallow Bed

Dry the River - Shallow Bed

I have no idea what made me head to an obscure stage at Glastonbury in 2011 to see a new band called Dry the River. I'm not sure I'd heard any of their music at that time, but go I did, and even just 20 minutes there made me think that I wanted to hear more in the future.

I'd not considered this any further until I was looking for a 'Record of the Week' for my radio show the other week and, flicking through a list of new single releases, I happened upon the band's The Chambers and the Valves. I loved it on first listen, and so immediately sought out the band's debut album Shallow Bed  on its release a couple of weeks ago.

I absolutely love this record. Now, I'll admit that it won't be for everyone as a couple of people I know have trouble with singer Peter Liddle's unique but largely falsetto voice. I adore it, though, and the vocals coupled with some lovely instrumentation make this a kind of more guitar laden British Fleet Foxes. Some of the harmonies are immense, and there are highlights galore on this album from the brilliant No Rest to the stunning single Weights & Measures.

Dry the River have been compared to the Mumfords, but it's not a comparison I can really understand. Sure, their style may broadly be described as 'folk rock' but that's where any likeness ends. This record has far more heavy guitar, the songs are less instantly catchy and radio-friendly (and much better for being so) and more structured. Many start slowly before reaching a stunning climax; none more so than the brilliant album finale Lion's Den.

Shallow Bed may be an album that takes you a few listens to fully enjoy, but it's my favourite album of 2012 to date by a country mile. Definitely worth a listen.