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Feature Review: Dry the River, Shallow Bed

Dry the River
Shallow Bed
[RCA (2012)]

Dry the River‘s first full length album is a work of supremely passionate material. The band draws musical tropes from indie arena rock (which despite the logical ingruity is a real thing thanks to Arcade Fire) and hymns (directly acknowledging the influence in song titles, like “Shaker Hymns”) and wraps them up in some of the modern alt-folk rock sounds that listeners of Mumford and Sons, Noah the Whale, Fleet Foxes, and Bon Iver will find comfortable. But those with memories stretching back a little further will find that the Waterboys are a more apt comparison.

Frontman Peter Liddle’s falsetto canvases the album, gentle but always clear and soaring with heartbreaking intensity on the  standout track, “Weights and Measures.” The guitars here range from gentle fingerpicking—nowhere more pleasant than on the closer “Lion’s Den”—to near-noise-rock in the songs’ crescendos. Special mention should be made of violinist Will Harvey, who, rather than shredding like Steve Wickham did in the Waterboys, uses his strings as a prominent textural instrument. And though it would be tedious to find every example, it’s worth saying that the writing (to which all the band members contribute) is refleshingly honest and straightforward without sacrificing poetic licence. Lyrics junkies will be thrilled.

Six months ago Dry the River was a very promising band. Shallow Bed truly delivers on that promise.

—Jon Patton (Baltimore, MD)

Here’s several songs from the album—with the bands’ commentaries.

[Soundcloud was fussy at the time of writing. To be safe, here’s the raw link: http://soundcloud.com/drytheriver/sets]

And a live video of our favorite track, “Weights and Measures.”

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3 comments on “Feature Review: Dry the River, Shallow Bed

  1. Yet another regional locus of creativity I’d have been in the dark about without DRIFTWOOD MAGAZINE. Long may y’all run! Insightful review, enough to coax
    me into checking out Dry The River. Who knew RCA was still in bid-net?

  2. That was excellently well written review. I Shallow Bed is something special. We had a chance to interview the Dry the river boys recently and I can say that they are some really cool guys. Check it out. http://www.whatsupwhatson.com/featured-story/wuwos-video-chat-with-dry-the-river/

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