Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso
I'm not sure how I'll ever get to sleep tonight. The wine is helping quite a lot. I am feeling somewhat sleepy, but the worries that Dry The River are instilling in me right now are really getting to me. I'm feeling the creeks rise. It's quite the opposite of what I was hoping would happen at this hour and it's quite the opposite of their insinuation. I'm feeling the wrinkle in my forehead take on a deeper, more curled furl. The temples are beating with something like a dull anger. They're not throwing fits, but they're pissed that they're having to work, now, after such as long ass day. Though largely meant to be a spiritual and optimistic group of men - shining light on sorrows only to be able to insist that things can't be this bad forever, that they're bound to spin back around to face the right direction soon.
They seem to pray at night to the angel of doubt, something that they know is likely real. It's just someone who doesn't laugh at their uncertainties or think that their worries are unfounded. They've been down too many roads to know that most of them are unpaved and littered with the kind of dental filling rattling potholes that could only be caused by years of neglect or significant wear and tear. The band is more than capable of talking us down from the highest ledge, but they still acknowledge that the ledge is up there and we're free to go visit it, walking out on it whenever we'd like. They're frequent visitors and yet, they've come down from those ledges more times than they can remember and every time they do, it feels better and better. It could be the secret not just to the heaving and anthemic music that this East London group makes, but to the general strategy of life: The more times you get up there and see what the ledge has to offer, understand what brought you to that brink and then you're able to leave it behind of solid ground again, it only makes you that much stronger - so much stronger than you'd ever be having never know the dizzying heights and lonely hiss of wind up there. It should be that our dying wish should be a twist on our living wish.
It seems to be the point of so much of Dry The River's messages. The dying wish should be something akin to, "Make this not hurt too badly and let everyone know that I loved them and I was as happy as I cared to be." On a similar note, the ideal living wish should be, "Make this not hurt too much, I hope that I'll be able to show everyone that I love them and I'm going to try to be as happy as is possible." There's pain in the words of lead singer Pete Liddle, but what he, guitarist Matt Taylor, bassist Scott Miller, violin player Will Harvey and drummer Jon Warren do with that pain is what we should all be advised to do with our pain. We should all be urged to turn it into a different energy. We should take the pain and all those anxieties - that can't help but bottle up and get stuck in us - and turn them into something like steam, something that can move us, instead of something that's just going to bury us early. Liddle sings, "If it's dark outside/You light the fire yourself/And darling, when the icecaps melt/When the devil's in the bible belt/Don't cower in your bed," on "Bible Belt," and suddenly, there we are walking over to that limp fire to wake it up.