Dry the River Shallow Bed

Dry the RiverShallow Bed
Members of London, UK-based quintet Dry the River did time in their local hardcore punk scene before forming this folk-rock outfit. You wouldn't know that from listening to their debut, Shallow Bed, but both genres do have an affinity for singers with bold, oversized personalities. Peter Liddle fits that requirement perfectly; his voice carries a long, long way, even as it quivers and threatens to break under the weight of his emotions. Good luck figuring out what's actually inspiring those emotions; Shallow Bed is lyrically dense and touches only vaguely on big-picture themes (poverty, perhaps, in the powerful "No Rest"). But on song after song, Liddle does what every good frontman should: he sells his nonsense. Melodically rich numbers like "Chamber and the Valves" and "History Book" set Dry the River apart from contemporaries like Mumford & Sons and the Head and the Heart. While those bands traffic in nostalgia, Shallow Bed is refreshingly free of archaic, "old timey" references; it feels both relevant and familiar. Ten years ago, Dry the River would have transitioned from hardcore to emo fairly effortlessly, but now alt-folk is the crossover style of choice. It's a bandwagon, but with albums as strong as Shallow Bed, who is complaining? (Sony)