The ranks of nu folk pilgrims like Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Fleet Foxes, and James Vincent McMorrow are swelled by the arrival of this beefy London five piece lead by medical and antropholiogy student Pete Liddle. And hark! Study the album sleeve and you’ll see that their A&R man is (timpani roll) Sam Mumford! Dry The River manage to be mournful yet celebratory and epic but intimate on this rousing debut. It’s very much a listening experience on which you’ll be tossed about on stormy seas and lashed by elemental forces before finding calm waters and solace. Tales of courtly love and poetic longing may be hard to swallow from a bunch of 21st century city dwellers but it’s hard to resist the glorious riot of The Chambers and The Valves (yup, your heart will swell) and Bible Belt’s wry tale of family dysfunction (“Each morning you’d walk your sisters like soldiers to school because lo, your father had drank the fuel”). Be warned! Woodcutters are mentioned and one of Dry The River sports an Amish-style beard but when Liddle confesses in his choirboy voice that “North isn’t true until it’s leading me to you” it’s as lovely a sentiment as you’ll hear all year.

Alan Corr