You just walked through your front doors after being in class, or at work, or wherever your busy life takes you these days. You need a pick me up, nothing obnoxiously inspiring, but no downers either. Know what I mean? You’re just looking for a good tune to sit back, kick off your shoes, take a deep breath, and bob your head to. Search: Dry Reef.
With an eclectic sound that makes it impossible for the messages in your brain that say “sit still” to reach the natural movements of your body, this reggae/rock electric jam cross-breed is a blend that works all too well. Dry Reef’s unique sound is captivating; pulling listeners in and entrancing them to jam for the duration of a song. Or five.
Having just recently released their second EP, “The Great Shine,” on Oct. 20, Dry Reef is on a high. The five tracks, while staying true to the band’s signature sound, contain a maturity that can only be explained by their own experiences of growing up these past two years, emotionally and artistically.
“‘The Great Shine’ is a self-culmination of our growth over the past year of performing and creating music. We wanted to bridge the gap between the festival scene and the mainstream, and with this new sound, we hope to reach as many people as possible,” explained lead vocalist Pat Gillen.
Based out of the suburbs of Philadelphia, Dry Reef was formed in 2010 and produced their first EP, “Dry Reef,” back in 2012. Lead guitarist and West Chester University student Collin O’Donnell recalled, “During our freshman year of high school, our drummer invited us over to jam in his basement. Pat picked up the bass pretty quickly and soon after a band was formed.”
Since then, the band has gained a loyal following in the greater Philadelphia area, reaching the New Jersey and Delaware shore lines, which fits seamlessly with their genre they “classify as Indie Surf,” O’Donnell explained, “Within our sound, we pull from a lot of reggae, rock, and electric/ jam band influences.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the individual sounds of each of these genres, Gillen states in simple words, “We’re dedicated to creating a new wave of high energy, feel good music.”
Five laid back dudes all between 21 and 22 years old, jammin’ and boogyin’ to “escape from the stress of school and work,” pour what they’ve got into their music whenever they can.
Gillen, O’Donnell, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Charles Minehart, drummer Eric Luttmann, and Miles Spiker on keys and vocals perform the balancing act between school, work and music impressively well. Gillen and O’Donnell agreed that it “takes a lot of time management and a flexible sleep schedule.” They deem it “something to look forward to.”
Their dedication shows. The tracks on “The Great Shine” feel light, but have powerful messages. “Alarms” and “The Waking Tides” are uplifting and hopeful, while the movement of “She Was My Fire” is slower than we’ve been given from Dry Reef before and opens up this new door to a room we didn’t know existed for them.
Gillen’s distinctive reggae vocal style allows lyrics such as “Pretend for just this moment that you could be controllin’ the notion that’s controllin’ you” from track 2 “Ember Tree” float freely while making an impact.
“Lightwaves” was released as a music video a week prior to the full EP. The video features the band carrying their instruments on the beach at sunset, running around a lit up Spruce Street Harbor Park, jamming on a lake, in their car, and on a rooftop overlooking Philly.
“We wanted the ‘Lightwaves’ video to be organic and personal, and give a chance for our new fans to really get to know us. We basically just walked around our favorite places in Philly and New Jersey and our friend, director, Jared Hirsch, documented it,” said Gillen.
Dry Reef has played shows all over Philly and Jersey in venues like World Café Live and the Note, as well as local bars, festivals and events; however, with the newly released EP, they’re aiming higher.
“As of now there is no tour scheduled. We’re hoping to spread our sound to a wider audience and play more shows outside of our roots in Philly and New Jersey,” O’Donnell explained.
The future looks bright for this local surf rock band. Their name could easily make for a Rolling Stone headline soon enough. You can check out Dry Reef at dryreefband.com or on Facebook, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, and Instagram.
Megan Monachino is a fourth-year student majoring in English writing with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at MM783809@wcupa.edu.