The over-arching tone and feel of this album release is, to me, of more acoustic indie folk that has gone theological and intense beyond the first album release, ‘Shallow Bed’, which I really, really liked.
The album cover to Alarms in the Heart has Tarot cards and presents, initially with a choral, chapel feel. References to Pilgrim Fathers, Gethsemene and St Peter’s complete the picture. With lyrics from apparent drop out ‘Med School’ anthropology student, Peter Liddle, the music feels intelligent and musically thoughtful, but it hasn’t moved on much to be honest, still electric folk with acoustic tones and falsetto vocals similar to the Shallow Bed release. After such long break, I guess promoting and festival playing the first album, I was expecting a bit more in respect of tone and colour. However it is possible these guys could end up being a new Radiohead, there is huge talent here.
The tracks themselves stand up nicely as an album and I expect this to grow on me as the first album did and in particular as the acoustic release did. The opening tracks, not really the strongest, are OK; guest singer Emma Pollack (of the Delgados) comes as a welcome relief after three tracks in Roman Candle, ‘Med School’ has several changes of pace which are a fraction puzzling. ‘Gethsemene’ is the standout track for me on first listening, ‘Rollerskate’ is an interesting song of sorts, and I can’t decide if it is about love! I don’t really get the lyrics to some of these songs, Everlasting Light is a good track but the lyric book says absolutely nothing to me.
I like the end of the album that leaves you feeling as if your descending into Hell but instead leads into an unlisted track called ‘Husk’ that surely came from earlier ‘Shallow Bed’ sessions and is beautiful to listen to. Why they would try to hide such a beautiful track, probably my favourite, at the end of the album is baffling.
Dry The River – Alarms in the Heart Track Rating
Alarms in the Heart **
Hidden Hand ***
Roman Candle ***
Med School **
It was Love that Laid us Low ***
Gethsemene Rollerskate ***
Everlasting Light ***
Hope Diamond **
Released 25 August, 2014