Dry the River – Shallow Bed
Elbow, Arcade Fire, Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake. These are the highlights from a list of artists that Dry the River don’t bear any audible resemblance to, yet to whom they’ve already been saddled with comparisons. As if the BBC Sound of 2012 wasn’t enough of an albatross. Shallow Bed is the inflated big budget debut album from the London quintet and there’s little here to titillate.
Instead, a minor update of the already hackneyed blueprint for contemporary folk-rock that’s enjoyed chart success over the past few years: let’s call it Mumford 2.0. But whereas Marcus and co try papering over the cracks with balls to the wall, senseless hoedowns, Dry the River occupy “swollen swings and pregnant crescendo” territory, all thoughtful and weepy. Competent, yes, but there’s nothing new or remotely daring about Shallow Bed – even the most palatable tracks - Shaker Hymns, for instance – begin to grate after just a few spins. If you want the classics, go out and buy them, because you won’t find any here.