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Dry the River

Shallow Bed (RCA Victor)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Oct. 12, 2012

ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

Dry the River

Shallow Bed (RCA Victor)

Caught in the wake of Anglophiled Americana, this East London quintet's debut LP runs on more power than its calculated harmonies suggest. Shallow Bed feels intentionally restrained, with the band wanting to rock more than stomp, but employing that tension well, no doubt partly influenced by National producer Peter Katis. A heavy bass riff drives "Animal Skins," countering the high-floating reach of Peter Liddle's vocals. "Bible Belt" convincingly conjures Fleet Foxes harmony from the frontman, alongside the swaying "The Chambers & the Valves," but "New Ceremony" and "Lion's Den" both tremble into roaring surge, the latter an eruption of post-rock proportions. Dry the River carries a touch of Shearwater's trilling flair in the swell of "No Rest," and at times Liddle riddles with equally arcane lyrics from his anthropology and medical backgrounds. It's what lingers beneath this riverbed that compels. (2pm, Austin Ventures stage)

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