Release Date: Aug 25, 2014
Record label: PIAS
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Indie Folk
Recorded in Iceland with producer Valgeir Sigurðsson, who also provides string arrangements, the sophomore long-player from the London chamber pop quartet doubles down on the opulent folk-pop pageantry of their debut, offering up ten lush slabs of audio finery that blend the bucolic art-pop of Stornoway with the ceiling-peeling arena rock of the Killers. Led by the sonorous Peter Liddle, whose choirboy voice harbors a surprising amount of power, Alarms in the Heart feels sonically similar to its predecessor, but it possesses a sturdier backbone, despite existing in a near constant state of musical melodrama. This is evident from the outset, as the impossibly lush title track which, like much of the album, sounds a little like Fleet Foxes taking on Love's "Along Again Or," sets the tone and locks it in, serving as an excellent litmus test.
‘Shallow Bed’, Dry the River’s debut from 2012, was an album that skilfully plucked elements from bands such as The National and Wild Beasts, tightly held together by an intensity that just about kept itself in check. The follow up is noticeably more reflective in tone, delving through a wider spectrum of emotions than previously. ‘Alarms in the Heart’ is fittingly representative of a band that had finally stopped after three years of touring to take stock of their situation.
Two years since getting themselves signed up by a record label and releasing their first album Shallow Bed, hardcore folk outfit (kinda works, right?) Dry The River have returned with an arguably finer follow up in the shape of Alarms in the Heart. Now, the Stratford-based troupe are striking out as a foursome after announcing in February that violinist William Harvey had left the line up to pursue other projects. His departure is not to the detriment of the ten-track LP though, his parts having already been laid down early in 2013 during a rural retreat to Iceland with heavyweight producers Charlie Hugall, Paul Savage and Peter Miles (who between them have individually worked with likes of Florence and The Machine, Mogwai and We Are Ocean).
Stratford, East London is normally the sort of place one would expect to breed edgy grime artists or an achingly hip dubstep producer rather than earnest folk-rock bands. Yet it’s the home of Westfield and the Olympic stadium which witnessed the birth of Dry The River, one of an increasing number of rustic, real ale flavoured groups of bearded young men to emerge incongruously from our urban heartlands in the wake of Mumford And Sons. They even brewed their own limited edition beer – called Mammoth, if anyone’s interested.