Armed with a watered down, lukewarm beer in a plastic cup trying to find my friends, I stumbled upon an absolute gem of a band at Reading Festival 2013- Dry the River. I’ve had the fortune of seeing this band twice more after that- once again at Reading, a year later, and then finally a gig at Tooting tram in December. The interesting use of vocal harmonies across the band paired with finger-picked guitar, violins and intense crescendos showed me music in a way I’d never heard it before. This wasn’t just music, this was an experience.
Dry the River’s album ‘Shallow Bed’ can only be described as a treasure chest, full of exquisite, beautiful songs all incredibly special and unique. Lead singer/ songwriter Peter Liddle has a Godlike talent for creating an old-soul sound, contrasted with an experimentative youthfulness. Each song, while mysterious and enigmatic, has the blessing of not being terribly cryptic, and so I find a multitude of people can extract different meanings from the songs. With the same soulful melodies of bands like Sigur Ros and the lyrical genius of -dare I say- Bob Dylan, Dry The River provides it’s audience with something archaic yet fresh. One could say it’s…. riveting.The five piece British indie folk band all came from different origins, experimenting with more hard-core branches of music, but ultimately decided to take a more folksy, alternative approach.
“The Dry the River sound is what you’d hear if you were in the bath after being dumped”
– Scott Miller (Bass & Percussion).
While not an incredibly glamorous statement, the melancholic sounds can generally be enjoyed whenever, but personally I would add it to an autumn/winter playlist due to the gentle melodies that match the simplistic beauty of winter weather vibes. The aesthetics of the lyrics create a deep, philosophical stance; a nice break from the bombarding of the repetitive, common pop music dominating the radio.
The use of biblical references combined with allusions to mythology and animal imagery sets Dry The River apart from other alternative bands singing of teenage heartbreak and smoking cigarettes *cough*.
Additionally, the lyrics break down the cliché stereotypes of discussing love via the medium of music in a poetic style, akin to Bon Iver. Pete’s angelic voice certainly adds to the heavenly aesthetics of the songs on ‘Shallow Bed’.
The luxurious innocence combined with dark themes form a truly imaginative album, and whilst Dry the River may not be the ideal band to listen to for a drinking session with your mates, it certainly adds something new to the up and coming alternative/folk genre of modern music.