Let's throw another name in the ring of great albums to come out of England this year. 2012 has turned out to be a massive year for solid pop and rock releases coming from the U.K. and Dry The River's debut "Shallow Bed" continues that run. The London based five-piece formed in 2009 and released a couple EP's prior to this first full length which does draw on a number of songs from those EP's, as well as new material.
The music on "Shallow Bed" is unmistakably English folk rock. Mandolins, violins and assorted horns show up often, but the band is just as adept at making melodic rock fit for stadium crowds. There is a lot of gloominess here, it would be easy to fall into the trap of being overly maudlin, but the sing-along chorus of "Animal Skins" and tracks like the infectious "New Ceremony" keep things from getting too bleak.
Peter Liddle's vocal work is a key driver here. He is able to handle both the quiet emotional moments and outbursts such as the shouted bombast of the second half of the fantastic "Lion's Den" equally well. Will Harvey's work on strings also helps hold everything together as they play a prominent role on the album. From the ballads "Demons" and "Bible Belt" that run together, to the heavily orchestrated "Shield Your Eyes", there is not a track worth skipping. Just listen to the chorus on "Weights & Measures", it alone should have you coming back to "Shallow Bed" often. Destined for my Best of 2012 list.
"Shallow Bed" was released April 17, 2012 on the RCA label.