A Union soldier who lay dying on the battlefield calls out to his lover, a young Miss Clara Barton -pioneer, nurse, and founder of The American Red Cross. A fireman paints a vivid impression of The Great Boston Fire of 1872, before it "swallowed him whole." Glowing four-part harmonies and an enchanting melody escort Mary Dyer to the gallows in 1660, retelling her tragic tale and saluting her courage and martyrdom. A brave abolitionist battles slavery with words, ink, and his printing press - taking shape as a radical newspaper known as “The Liberator.”
Playfully titled, The King Can Drink the Harbour Dry, it's no exaggeration to say The Dimes' new record delivers musical Cliffs Notes for an early American History class. A sonic adventure with influences ranging from Simon and Garfunkel to The Beatles' White Album, it's the distinct lyrical musings that set it apart from other folk-pop albums this year. Singer-songwriter Johnny Clay delivers a dramatic history lesson with a baroque assortment of instruments, sixties pop harmonies, and delightfully simple arrangements as though he’s channeling the spirits of people, places and events from early day Boston, Massachusetts.
Amidst all of the storytelling and folky, avant-garde arrangements, at its core the record maintains a pastoral, old-country meets sixties pop goodness that cannot be denied. Originally a four-piece, The Dimes have recently evolved to a seven-piece, adding a cello, pedal steel, and a revolving cast of artists and instruments, representing all the layers, pastoral elements, and lush harmonies found on the record.
Early comparisons of The King Can Drink The Harbour Dry have grouped it with the likes of Andrew Bird, Great Lake Swimmers, Destroyer, Bowerbirds and even Iron and Wine. The band's debut release, The Silent Generation, garnered national attention from SPIN, Magnet, Under the Radar, NPR, USA Today, and a long list of music blogs. SPIN described it as a "...sparkling pop gem...with its cascading guitars, sweet harmony vocals and Big Country-esque proportions."
Again working with Engineer, Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Death Cab For Cutie, Menomena, Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney, Dolorean), the bandʼs sophomore release is a continuation of historic themes that began on The Silent Generation (2007) and again on their early 2009 release, the New England EP.
The King Can Drink the Harbour Dry is the Portland, Oregon-based band's second full-length release, due out December 1st, 2009.