Dry The River - Shallow Bed acoustic
- By Chris Jefferies -
- Dec 14, 2012
Nine months ago when Dry The River released their debut album 'Shallow Bed', it was met with widespread positive reviews, but a handful of critics accused the folk-rock quartet of somewhat overdoing the production values.
So as if to prove them wrong and show that these songs can stand up on their own two feet without the bells and whistles, the band have decided to release an acoustic version of the album.
It's an interesting choice for a band with just one album to their name, since some of the most effective acoustic albums (Foo Fighters - 'Skin and Bones', Nirvana - 'Unplugged In New York') have worked as greatest hits retrospectives.
Despite sticking to the track listing, 'Shallow Bed (Acoustic)' sees Dry The River do much more than just unplug the amps. Many of the tracks are cleverly re-arranged with instruments switched and tempos altered.
The recording style has a real 'live session' feel to it, so much so that you might expect warm applause to greet the end of each track.
Most strikingly, it is the vocals that take centre stage, with Peter Liddle, Matthew Taylor and Scott Miller harmonising brilliantly in many places. This low-fi approach also allows the lyrics to shine through more clearly, particularly on the haunting rendition of 'Demons' and a delicate a capella reworking of 'Animal Skins'.
Elsewhere, 'No Rest' has been expanded to include a Simon & Garfunkel-esque guitar break that leads into the chorus.
Not all of these tracks are as effective as the originals, however - the plodding piano on 'Bible Belt' adds little, while 'Shaker Hymns' is hardly altered from the original, and the abrupt end to 'Lion's Den' makes for a very disappointing finale.
Anyone who hasn't already heard Shallow Bed would be best served by starting with the full band version, as it better displays the full range of Dry The River's skills and includes some truly rousing crescendos.
This acoustic album works as both an intriguing take on a rich and highly-accomplished album, and a tantalising taste of what's to come from one of Britain's most promising bands.
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