Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Review: Dry the River - Shallow Bed

 London indie rockers Dry the River have already been making a name for themselves having been featured in the BBC Sounds of 2012 poll and they keep appearing on little adverts on the side of my Facebook page, so y'know - that can't be too bad. I've been looking to review their debut album Shallow Bed for a while now because they were one of the first albums to appear in the New Artists of 2012 section on the iTunes store when the year started. And in may ways that says it all, because the artists that appear there are generally soft and pretentious music for hipsters.

 But, there's nothing wrong with that. It's a type of music I've grown quite partial to and has taken in fans of alternative rock worldwide and with their collection of pleasant soothing indie folk music, Dry the River are a group which verge at the very centerpiece of this indie revolution. Though the extent to which they let their full sense of creative dynamism doesn't put them in the same league as Wild Beasts and puts them closer to the likes of Elbow (Who I don't mean to criticize as I like them a lot, just to suggest they're not as fully creative as they could be) and Mumford & Sons, (Who I do mean to criticize. They define "overrated".) Shallow Bed features a blissful atmospheric performance which reveals a demeaning artistic credibility and powerful melodic strength.
 This intelligent alt rock performance is displayed on tracks like New Ceremony and Lion's Den which in their soothing indie rock melodies played out through battered out power chords from guitarist Matt Taylor and whumping basslines from Scott Miller put into accompaniment with violin strokes from Will Harvey  (A sure sign of their artful nature - there's a full time member for strings!!!) and the delicate intimate crooning from frontman Peter Liddle is effective in giving these songs and the whole album a much more awe-inspiring atmosphere at a more grandiose scale making the songs that bit more epic in their playing. In this sense, the buildup is used as a powerful tool in Dry the River's music, as tracks like Lion's Den, the depression inspired Demons and the wondrous closer Family all make use of turning their peaceful acoustic led indie folk songs into massive orchestral climaxes.
 So, does it all work? Well without any question of a doubt the skill in songwriting and crafting songs is stellar on Shallow Bed but there's no way it could be said that it's an album that really leaves a lasting impression. The album comes with the ability to switch between gripping and more testing to listen to and the constant climaxes feel more like a way to stop listeners from getting fed up. But, much of Dry the River's music manages to be very touching and achieves the emotional impact they're looking for. Anyway, I'm sure tracks from the album will become permanent fixtures on Absolute Radio and they'll win big at the Mercury Music Awards. Good for them I say.

 Dry the River's Shallow Bed is out now via RCA Records. The band will tour the UK from April-May.

1 comment:

  1. Love Dry The River sooo much! I've been listening to "Weights and Measures" all week, fantastic song: http://vevo.ly/x5CI9s