- Audio CD (5 Mar. 2012)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: RCA
- ASIN: B005ZJCD4M
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,421 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Shallow Bed CD
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Dry the River release their debut album Shallow Bed through RCA Victor. The band is one of 15 artists on the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 shortlist, making the record one of the most anticipated of the year. The 11-track album, produced by Peter Katis (The National / Interpol), was recorded at his Connecticut home-studio during the summer of 2011. “We were looking for someone who could strike a balance between lo-fi and hi-fi,” says Peter Liddle, Dry the River’s lead singer. “We wanted to record the bulk of it to tape, to use analogue stuff in favour of computer wizardry where possible, but without it sounding like an old folk record. I think we tried to preserve the fragility and honesty of the more stripped down tracks, but still get the intensity of the live show across too - to marry those two aspects of our music without it sounding incongruous.”
With an esoteric list of influences ranging across Leonard Cohen, At The Drive-In, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, this is a record not to be missed.
Who wants to be in a guitar band with the pressure of rescuing an apparently fading genre? Well Dry the River do, and their intention is clear. Bearing tattoos and professing to a love of US hardcore, the London-based five-piece have been up for the scrap since 2011’s well-received Weights and Measures EP, and tore up last year’s SXSW festival. Now, having made the BBC Sound of 2012 list, they’ll be looking to emulate the success of the Sound of 2011’s breakthrough guitar sorts, The Vaccines.
Dry the River developed from singer Peter Liddle’s acoustic solo tour in 2009, after which accrued members, and now flatmates, convinced him to take his folk tunes in a heavier direction. It was a good idea, and successful enough to attract the interest of The National/Interpol producer Peter Katis to oversee this debut.
And it works – at least once the listener is clear of dull opener Animal Skins. If it was to be bracketed as a calling card effort, it’d be one that barely makes the wallet, its makers sounding twice their ages and uncomfortable with the burden of youth. But true form is found on the single New Ceremony: a belter of a tune, it comes complete with a heart-warming chorus.
Much of this band’s recent promotion has focused on acoustic performances, and the full-blooded versions of their songs here may wrong-foot those expecting such gentleness. Channelling the energy of bands such as At the Drive-In and Grinderman, both History Book and the string-laden The Chambers & The Valves demonstrate the success of mining folk roots while the guitars are turned up to 10. Bible Belt earnestly devours classic Americana literature and hardship: "Lo and behold your mother is drinking again / This might be the coldest winter since records began." Importantly, Liddle’s last-to-leave-the-school-choir vocals provide an otherworldliness which offsets these songs’ gritty realism to great effect.
Although the band will be encouraged by the recent success of The Horrors and The Maccabees, both of whom have embraced electronics with devastating success, this is a direction Dry the River won't be taking any time soon. Their eagerness to record using analogue equipment can be heard throughout this set – it’s a wonder they weren’t mixed using steam-powered desks while mobile phones were banned from the premises.
Shallow Bed is a brave start for this long-hyped but still young band. Although at times the tunes and excitement commonly associated with a debut album can become lost in painful pursuit of authenticity, this is a surefooted and uncompromising collection.
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Top Customer Reviews
The production gives it a consistent sound without ever becoming samey- the songs clearly belong together but there is nothing monotonous about the record. It helps that Peter Liddle is a extraordinarily deft lyricist, his songwriting stepping between emotional honesty and obscure reference with a rare and precious agility. The musicianship throughout is excellent - the strings and guitars soar through the songs, the rhythm section know when to thunder and when to whisper and there are moments of beautiful layered choral harmonies.
Over the years I have enjoyed a lot of artists that get classified as "Americana" but as an Englishman with a real interest in my own cultural identity what I really wanted to hear music that brought that attitude to this side of the Atlantic. In this album, pastoral and spacious, by turns sweeping, tender and wild, I am hearing exactly that. Anglicana, you might say. Or listening to these vocals like a world-weary Jeff Buckley and borrowing a pun famously coined by a 6th Century pope: Angelicana.
I can't recommend highly enough taking the time to sit down and read the lyrics in conjunction with the music - the two combine to put this band on a different level, even to the excellent Mumford & Sons to whom they are (strangely in my eyes) compared from time to time.
If there is any justice in this world (which all of us music fans know there often isn't!) Dry The River are going to be huge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful album - consistently uplifting. Only sorry that they only put out two albumsPublished 2 days ago by Chris Nugent
An astonishing debut album but to discover its real beauty, get the acoustic version.It's EVEN BETTER.Published on 28 Mar. 2015 by SCREEN77
When Weights and Measures was freshly out I came across it once in some casual radio listening and got very impressed, but didn't give it a second thought and didn't even remember... Read morePublished on 12 Nov. 2014 by Bingwei
A GREAT ALBUM AND A GROUP THAT I PERSONALLY HAVE ONLY JUST DISCOVEREDPublished on 14 Aug. 2014 by MR R J MEARS