Fast-rising eclectic Folk band Dry the River – consisting of Peter Liddle (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Matthew Taylor (Guitar), Will Harvey (Violin), Scott Taylor(Bass Guitar) and Jon Warren (Drums) – are not your typical Mumford and Sons kind of folk-band even though everyone wants to call them “the next Mumford and Sons“. Each member of the band has previously played in Hardcore Rock and Post-Punk bands and these elements shine through on Dry the River’s music, song lyrics and weirdly enough, the band members’ love of tattoos (uncanny for a Folk band surely).
Their latest single “New Ceremony” for example, shows great elements of Folk music with its acoustic guitar patterns and melancholic lyrics but the injection of heavy drums, electric guitar and lush violin arrangements lift up the record considerably and accompanied by Liddle’s captivating vocals, give the song a Indie Rock edge.
The band would class themselves as ‘Emo-Folk’ and as vocalist Peter Liddleexplains; “Emo has become a term of derision, but originally it meant emotive hardcore. The underlying idea is cool: although it’s important to play with passion, I believe that there should be an emotional underpinning to all music and all performance“. Dry the River’s music could well be described as an eclectic cross between the Foo Fighters and Queen but there’s just something more to this five piece. The new single “New Ceremony” is a little softer than their well-known track, “The Chambers and The Valves” which was released in February along with a rather quirky and eccentric video to accompany it.
The band’s other previously released song “Weights and Measures” from Shallow Bed has a very holy choristic feel to it and is a little like Charlie Simpson’s solo single “Hold On”. Starting off in typical Folk music territory backed by a solemn acoustic guitar arrangement and pastoral harmonies, “Weights & Measures” expands on itself in beautiful slow building fashion with drum layers, strong electric guitar and excellent violin accompaniments.
The choristic and pastoral feel to Dry the River’s music is not a coincidence, either. Born in Norway to British parents, Liddle’s father was an engineer in the oil-industry and this meant constant moving and shifting between different schools and although his parents were quietly religious, Liddle became fascinated by the iconography and language of the Roman Catholic Church at one of his many primary schools, where his voice was honed in the school choirs. “I think I have a fixation with community and belonging… Because that was something that I didn’t I have as a child”, he explains. Religious imagery is apparent in many of Dry the River’s lyrics, especially in the songs “Bible Belt” and “Shaker Hymns” and Liddle explains this so, “I think if you play with King James Bible vocabulary, it accesses a solemnity; something deep within people”.
“The Chamber & The Valves” is another example of how well Dry the Riverexecute this Folk/Rock fusion. Laced with Liddle’s trademark choral vocals which superbly direct the song from start to end and an excellent musical milieu of lush string arrangements, commanding drum and guitar patterns, this song is as captivating sonically as it is lyrically. Perhaps this excellent fusion of Emo and Folk music combined with that Rock edge was a reason why the band was one of the acts to be short listed as a BBC Sound of 2012 nominees.
Quite impressively, the band is currently embarking on a massive and extensive headline tour which sees them performing across Canada, the US, Europe, the UK and Ireland in 2012. After playing gigs in Montreal and Toronto at the end of March, the band headed south for a nine-city tour across the US which ended at the start of the month and are now back home concluding their UK tour of eighteen venues across the country before they say hello to the rest of Europe and head back off to the States in May for eight additional tour dates! Liddle and the rest of his quintet will also be playing at award-winning independent festival 2000 Trees in Gloucestershire on 13 July and are continuing their existing course of headline performances with more tour dates and festivals over the Summer to culminate in another string of UK tour dates in October and November.
The London-based five-piece have also just released their latest single “New Ceremony” which is from their debut album, Shallow Bed (RCA Records) and have confirmed that “Deadheads” will be the B-side to the new single which was released on April 16 exclusively for Record Store Day.
The band’s début album Shallow Bed is out NOW on RCA Records, purchase itHERE (iTunes)