Saturday, October 3, 2009

Review: The Dimes "The King Can Drink the Harbour Dry"

Back in July, we featured The Dimes' "New England" EP here on BMF (review here). The EP was unique in giving us a history lesson about colonial New England - and a history lesson never sounded so good. These guys from Portland, Oregon will be releasing the full-length follow-up record December 1, entitled "The King Can Drink the Harbour Dry".

"The King Can Drink the Harbour Dry" continues to provide us intriguing historical insights while entertaining our ears with their soothing pastoral sounds. Frontman Johnny Clay sings these tunes as if they were lullabies, and the band plays music to match. "The King Can Drink the Harbour Dry" is filled to the rim with flavorful tunes that are simply gorgeous. Collectively, the songs could be considered to be a historical soundtrack for the city of Boston - most involve people or events associated with Boston...or at least Massachusetts. "Damrell's Fire" is centered on The Great Boston Fire of 1872, "The Liberator" is about William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist newspaper of the same name, "Susan Be" is reference to Susan B. get the idea. Incidentally, Boston is the hometown of bandmate Pierre Kaiser.

The Dimes cleverly evoke colonial imagery with their distinct sound, which is always pure and pristine. There is a baroque assortment of instruments, but you'll also detect some harmonies reminiscent of 60s pop. Noted engineer Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Death Cab For Cutie, Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney) is at the helm once again, putting his touch on these beautiful and well-crafted songs. Highlights include "The Liberator", "Celia's Garden", "Webster Thayer", and "Save Me, Clara", which is my personal favorite. Recommended if you like The Decemberists, Andrew Bird, or Great Lake Swimmers. And that is my two cents worth regarding The Dimes.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11

The Dimes on MySpace. Official site.

You can preview The Dimes for free right now with these mp3s (free and legal):
“Damrell’s Fire”
“Walden and the Willow Tree”

Check out a live performance video of "Susan Be":

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