13 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The sound of Dry the River is somewhere between the cloister and the pub, combining a soberly spiritual air with a boisterous folk-rock spirit. The British quintet’s debut, Shallow Bed, invites comparisons to Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes, as well as such ‘60s baroque-pop units as The Left Banke. Lead singer Peter Liddle’s choirboy-like tones lend him a melancholy charisma as he freely mixes religious imagery with intimations of childhood traumas and romantic disappointments. Tracks like “Weights & Measures,” “No Rest," and “New Ceremony” underscore a delicate sense of angst with stately strings, orchestral drumming, and guitar textures that veer from the genteel to the searing. The nostalgic glow of “Shaker Hymns” finds an effective contrast in the rumbling tribal groove of “Animal Skins.” Puncturing the album’s gothic moodiness are flashes of defiant optimism, heard in otherwise dark-tinged songs like “Bible Belt” and “Demons.” Liddle and company wrap things up with “Lion’s Den.” It builds from softly mournful strains to a grandiose symphonic finale, à la Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The sound of Dry the River is somewhere between the cloister and the pub, combining a soberly spiritual air with a boisterous folk-rock spirit. The British quintet’s debut, Shallow Bed, invites comparisons to Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes, as well as such ‘60s baroque-pop units as The Left Banke. Lead singer Peter Liddle’s choirboy-like tones lend him a melancholy charisma as he freely mixes religious imagery with intimations of childhood traumas and romantic disappointments. Tracks like “Weights & Measures,” “No Rest," and “New Ceremony” underscore a delicate sense of angst with stately strings, orchestral drumming, and guitar textures that veer from the genteel to the searing. The nostalgic glow of “Shaker Hymns” finds an effective contrast in the rumbling tribal groove of “Animal Skins.” Puncturing the album’s gothic moodiness are flashes of defiant optimism, heard in otherwise dark-tinged songs like “Bible Belt” and “Demons.” Liddle and company wrap things up with “Lion’s Den.” It builds from softly mournful strains to a grandiose symphonic finale, à la Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.”

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