“We formed back in 2002 when all of us were about 15 or so, and it’s taken pretty much up to this point to come to a [place] where I think all of us are happy and comfortable with our sound,” says Long Walk Home drummer Mark Rybaltowski.
Long Walk Home has had a difficult time addressing their “sound” over the past seven years. Not unexpectedly, the band’s five members have found their musical tastes changing, and their collection of three previous albums proves it. “When you’re 14 and you haven’t been writing songs that long and you’re listening to Oasis, Nirvana and Dave Matthews Band, your influences are pretty narrow,” singer and guitarist Julian Booker says with a slight laugh. But with the upcoming release of their new album Heavy Sand , Long Walk Home has finally solidified their sound and ethos.
“Over the past year or so, we’ve been mislabeled a lot. We seemed to continually get booked into bills with bands that don’t really fit our style,” says guitarist Kevin Ryan. With the writing and recording of Heavy Sand, he says, “It’s not necessarily shaping ourselves around what we don’t want to be, but we get to see what people might have taken us for and get to react to that and built on it and switch it around.”
Heavy Sand encompasses the many faces of rock music: simple, catchy harmonies interspersed with climactic bridges, memorable lyrics and guitar-and-drum driven melodies. Shimmers of late-’90s indie pop, blues and funk make appearances, and every song is nuanced and modulating.
“It’s kind of bizarre being on a bill with a bunch of pop-punk bands or straight jam bands,” Booker says. “For some reason, promoters think we’re going to fit there and every time we play, the sound guy comes up afterwards and is like, ‘How did you get this show? What the hell is going on?’” ■
Fri., Sept. 4, 9pm. $8. With the Mint + NiCad. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St. 215.787.0488. northstarbar.com