Released: March 5th 2012
I’ve been a fan of London five-piece Dry The River since I saw them supporting Johnny Flynn in a horrid little bar in Dundee in June 2010. Since then I’ve seen them live more times than I can count and have always loved them, so for me, listening to their debut album was like returning to an old friend. Songs such as ‘Weights and Measures’ and ‘Bible Belt’ still provoke the same feelings in me that they did all those months ago.
Throughout their career they’ve been compared to Mumford & Sons an inordinate amount, perhaps the presence of a violinist, which makes them a bit folky, made people ignore the fact that the two have hardly anything in common. Dry the River did, in fact, come together through their love of post-punk and originally started out to write that kind of music but the folk element crept in over time. Throughout the record, the dichotomy of these two influences is plain. The overwhelming crescendo of ‘No Rest’ moves into the whispered opening of ‘Shaker Hymns’, where the group’s talent for harmonizing is shown off to its fullest extent.
It’s on closer ‘Lion’s Den’ though where it becomes clear what really makes up the backbone of this band. At almost 7 minutes it’s an epic piece of music, starting off very calmly before descending in to a mess of noise and distortion with vocalist Peter Liddle screaming almost inaudibly over the top of it all. The thing that makes it so special is that the violin melody plays such a huge part until the end, it’s constantly there as a reminder of the fact that this is a band who have taken two opposite influences and brought them together into something brilliant.