New review: Dear River

Helen G listens to the fourth album from Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo and is immersed from the first note to the last.

Dear River, the fourth album by Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo (EB&TRCH) and their first for Linn Records, is that rarest of records: an instant classic. With not a gram of filler, it’s the kind of album that immerses you from the first note to the last and leaves you wondering where the intervening 40 minutes went. Subtly knitted together by a combination of skilled musicianship, literate yet accessible songwriting and an exquisite quality of sound (due in no small part to the work of producer/engineer Calum Malcolm at Glasgow’s Gorbals Sound studios), Dear River leaves other bands with lots more time and money at their disposal trailing in its wake. Yes, it’s that good.

Emily, Anna, Jo and Gill have been previewing songs from Dear River on their seemingly endless touring schedule since last summer and, during their recent gigs in London, songs from it made up over half the setlist. Nevertheless, for anyone who’s been fortunate enough to attend any of the recent live shows, hearing the studio recordings for the first time adds a whole other dimension to the experience…

Click here to read the rest of the review and comment

Dear River is out 8 July and available for pre-order.

Image description:

Dear River front cover. Sepia photograph of Emily Barker in front of a lake in a floral dress, holding a letter that is folded into boat-shaped origami and hanging round her neck on a white string. The text reads “EMILY BARKER & THE RED CLAY HALO” in black type (top right), with “Dear River” in italics underneath it. By Vikram Kushwah.

Video description:

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Tuesday (Hit The Floor magazine Acoustic Session).

This begins and ends with a short segment of dance music and the Hit the Floor HTF logo. Before the performance begins, Emily says “Hello, we’re Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo and this song is called ‘Tuesday’.” The band play the song in a blue-walled room with a shelf just visible to the left. Anna Jenkins is on violin (middle, back), while Jo Silverston is on cello (left) and Emily sings and plays guitar (right).

ADDENDUM: The lyrics for ‘Tuesday’ can be found here: Tuesday – EB&TRCH.doc.