No Any Walls: Heavy on Earth (Music Review)

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Imagine, if you will, a faded photo of an old barn or of the rusted corrugated iron shell of an abandoned mill or factory.

Now imagine that photograph can sing.

That’s what listening to Heavy on Earth, the new EP from No Any Walls, is like. The music is recorded with a lo-fidelity vibe that gives the songs a sense of intimacy and immediacy that’s complemented by the rusty door-hinge tenor of singer Gary Hello’s vocals and his urgent, at-times driving, guitar playing. As each tune emerges from a haze of distortion and tape hiss, it’s easy to pretend you’ve just stumbled upon an old cassette that you found in the glove compartment of a used car — and realizing that you’ve not only found some great tunes but also that you’re gaining a first-hand glimpse into the hard-lived life of someone you wish you’d had a chance to have met.

Idling comfortably at the intersection of Nirvana’s Never Mind and Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, Heavy on Earth offers a gritty and moving lo-fi portrait of our depressed yet not entirely hopeless cultural landscape.