Born of the stark beauty and bittersweet desolation of the high desert, California trio Heavy Gus blurs the lines between grungy garage band fare, hazy surf, and dreamy indie rock on their captivating full-length debut, Notions. Bristling with live-wire electricity, the collection is lean and spare, fueled by distorted guitars and a driving rhythm section, and the performances are loose and organic to match, captured spontaneously in the moment with little room for overthinking or second-guessing.
"We didn't realize we were making an album at first," says songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Stelth Ulvang. "I don't even think we realized we were a band. Only later when we started to hear the mixes did we realize how special it was, that this was a thread we needed to follow together."
While all three bandmates come to Heavy Gus from very different worlds -- Ulvang from The Lumineers, drummer Ryan Dobrowski from Blind Pilot, and singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Dorota Szuta from an unlikely combination of marine science and music -- they fit together like puzzle pieces here, bound by the kind of love and trust that can only grow from years of deep kinship. The result is a record all about distance and connection from a band built on intimacy and personal chemistry, a mesmerizing debut that calls to mind everything from Meat Puppets and The Breeders to Yo La Tengo and Acetone in its artful balance of hope and fatalism, loneliness and desire, strength and vulnerability.