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drytheriver shallowbed
Artist: Dry the River
Title: Shallow Bed
Genre: Indie/ Folk-Rock
Release Date: 2nd March 2012
Label: Sony Music

Album Review

When you hear the sombre violin strings composed along with a gentle strum of an acoustic, you can’t help not think about the familiar old landscape of Southern America - the home of folk and country music. Although, with DRY THE RIVER, there is an exception here, they’re a London based 5-piece-band creatively infusing immense sounds of hi-fi guitar bursts along with the archetypal conventions of country/ folk music. Mentioning folk in the mainstream indie scene, there’s no doubt, comparatively that you relate to the likes of MUMFORD & SONS. Unlike the band mentioned in the latter, DRY THE RIVER explore more of a profound nature in their songs, some have real teeth and power like that of a Steinbeck novel. Peter Liddle’s lyrics soars realms of heart-pulling narratives; ‘Bible Belt’ tells the story of a family struggling with alcoholic parents, ‘Demons’ laments about the intense battle of depression and ‘Shaker Hymns’ illustrates a moving fable of a failed marriage.

Although, their opener, ‘Animal Skins’ incites the more abstract lyrics, “At the bottom of our rotten boat there is a lake. Things with many limbs are creeping round my teenage legs.” The troubles of youth and the strife of living come to mind, it is considerable that it may in fact be a reference to the very name of the band. In Liddle’s lyrics, there are many references to biblical influences however this is just an element of Liddle’s fascination with theological iconography and this is primarily due to his “quietly religious” parents. The whole record just segues into a moving mesh of themes that are of love, death, sorrow, life and other transcendental qualities. Liddle’s voice is somewhat of a sorrowful tone with an immense despair but despite that, he performs it well with wise warmth and compassion. His voice amplifies the emotional under current of their songs; it grows and grows with more power as the music gradually pulsates, progressively creeping to a tempestuous crescendo of crashing orchestras and compelling guitars.

Apparently, as stated by Liddle, the band preferred to record their album to tape, “to use analogue stuff in favour of computer wizardry where possible.” This direction can most certainly be felt throughout the album and it is refreshing and affective, there’s no ostentatious over-use of production, which is always vital to a record. That in mind, the last 2 songs on the album do push on with the scope of their musical layers, specifically the song ‘Lion’s Den’ which over-compensates the inclusion of heavier riffs and imploding arias, instead of really emoting the listener, it (unfortunately) drowns itself out, leaving the listener somewhat numb. Melodically, the strongest songs on the album are ‘No Rest’, ‘New Ceremony’ and ‘Weights and Measures’ - the progressiveness of these songs really envelope a mass of feelings that become integral to the whole sound of the record; it embodies a poetry that interprets the band’s real strength.

For a debut album that simply overwhelms the listener into soundscapes of melancholic allegories, along with satiable, soothing tones that can also be at times empowering, this most certainly emphasises a grand potential in the band’s future. 2012 will surely be a great year for them as they have many summer gigs lined up and ‘Shallow Bed’ does deserve a damn good applause all round just for its well-executed finish and impeccable beauty.


01. Animal skins
02. New Ceremony
03. Shield Your Eyes
04. History book
05. The Chambers & The Valves
06. Demons
07. Bible Belt
08. No Rest
09. Shaker Hymns
10. Weights & Measures
11. Lion’s Den
12. Family


Peter Liddle – Vocals/Guitar
Will Harvey – Violin
Jon Warren – Drums
Matt Taylor – Guitar
Scott Miller – Bass

Websites /

Cover Picture

drytheriver shallowbed


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10

Buy the album here!

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