Friday, 9 March 2012

Album Review: Dry The River - Shallow Bed

I'm going to start this with a warning. I will be using the words "massive" and "chorus" in conjunction with each other a lot during this review. I'm sorry, but it is totally necessary.

Nearly one year ago exactly, Dry The River released their first proper single, "New Ceremony". It wasn't the largest or pompous single release, but those that bought it new they had some thing special. The bands mix of delicate folk, harmonious vocals and catchy writing. One year on and the bands constant gigging and stream of singles mean they have quickly gained adoration both from fans and critics. "Shallow Bed" is not exactly a collection of new songs. Of the 11 tracks on the album, only 3 have been previously unreleased. Several versions have been re-recorded, but it is largely made up of old tracks. This is no bad thing. Opening with "Animal Skins" pounding drums and bassline, the band show they mean business and step away from the constant Mumford comparisons. It quickly sets the blueprint for the album: Delicate acoustic guitar, distorted guitar lines, harmonies and (sorry) massive chorus'. And they really know their way round a chorus. Lines like "I loved you in the best, I loved you in the BEST WAY POSSSIBBLLLLEEEE" were literally built for stadiums. The re-recorded songs are also heavier and bolstered by extra orchestration. The single trumpet rise at the end of "History Book" is brilliant, as is the new version of "Lions Den". The heavier, messier, intense ending reflects the bands live working of the song and is far better than the original. The album pounds you with sing-a-long chorus after sing-a-long chorus all carried by lead singer Pete Liddle's beautiful voice. The band has set their sights high with such a massive sounding album, and managed to pull it off with ease.

(Only said massive chorus once. Surprised myself)


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