Upon its release in spring 1992, Dry was hailed as one of rock’s most stunning debut albums by the press, and 12 years later it still sounds as striking and relevant as ever. Music like this will never date, fade or grow old. It will always sound this vital, powerful and alive. Independently recorded in her native Yeovil on a shoestring budget of £5000, and issued on the underground label Too Pure, it introduced a puzzled rock scene to its most exciting newcomer in many years.
From the bruised, abraded guitar tones and exasperated sigh of opener Oh My Lover, this record is a jarringly fresh and immediate listening experience. The single Sheela Na Gig is a stone-cold classic and remains an audience live favourite to this day; its Carrie-inspired refrain of “He said wash your breasts, I don’t want to be unclean/He said please take your dirty pillows away from me” still manages to shock with its directness. The lyrics are ugly/beautiful poetry of the highest order – check out lines like “Petals green cover me in all my shame” in Fountain, and hear Polly Jean sing them like her life depends on it. It closes with the Biblical baptism/drowning epiphany of Water - a big, bluesy, stomping rocker powered by chunky buzzsaw guitar and chugging double bass.
If I had one minor criticism, it would be that the mastering and lo-fi sound mix of Dry is a bit too quiet for my liking. You need to blast the volume way up for full enjoyment of this one. But that problem can be very easily sorted. And besides, the raw bedroom production adds to the spirit of the record. Forget about rubbish like Linkin Park and get a load of this instead.