Review: Dry The River-Alarms In The Heart

dry the river album cover

dry the river album cover

Voluptuous, and far less focused on ambient space.

The last two years have been a turbulent period for Dry The River. After the release of their debut album, Shallow Bed, they spent an inordinate amount of time touring. Although the band were enjoying well deserved support and success, their gruelling schedule left primary songwriter, Pete Liddle, with precious little time to write their increasingly imminent follow-up. This understandably led to frustration, self-doubt and confusion; songs were written, re-written, scrapped and all the while, time ticked on.

In June of this year Dry The River revealed the ripe fruits of their hard labour. ‘Gethsemane’ was released, and what a triumphant return it was. The song was a profound embodiment of everything that would arrive in August on their long awaited and follow up album, ‘Alarms In The Heart’; Dry The River return as a more cohesive entity. A more collaborative writing process, as well as a more restricted line up, has produced a rich and warm album that sounds more akin to an orchestral rock band, than a symphonic folk band. The songs are voluptuous and far less focused on ambient space. ‘Med School’ is a perfect example of the ebb and flow of the album as a whole, as the oceanic instrumentation seamlessly eases from verse to chorus as it washes around you, whilst the beautifully intense vocals reach out. It’s a hypnotic experience.

The all engrossing breakdowns that Dry The River do so well remain on ‘Rollerskate’, and, ‘Vessel’. As Pete whispers the incredibly moving lines, “I couldn’t want you more than this”, “I don’t want to be a vessel anymore”, the sonic immensity builds and so too does the unbelievable emotional force.

‘Alarms In The Heart’ is a validation of Dry The River’s musical prowess and will earn them all the respect that they deserve.