At a time when the blending of folk and rock is continuously gaining popularity, it’s not difficult to find artists working with the genres and forgetting the sonic (and thematic) roots. Ban Hatton has a clear grasp on both the sounds of folk and the beat-heavy, feel-it-in-your-bones sort of rock that makes you move. With weighted, emotional lyrics (hear: “Brothers”, an album highlight, and the atmospheric “She’s Gone”) balanced nicely with feel-good tracks such as album opener “Backed By The River”, Walls successfully gives a spectrum without losing a unifying and uniquely folk-rock sound.
But Ban Hatton isn’t one so easily defined. “Going Home” dabbles in alternative country, and “I Feel Fine (Everything’s Alright)” has elements of Wilco, but on a pure acoustic level that simply stuns with universal beauty. There is a level of folk honesty in Hatton’s lyrics. Especially poignant and notable on “Oncoming Lights (For Casey)”, which provides a well-timed slow-down on the album.
Overall, Walls works successfully as an immersion into a world carefully crafted by genre, but not held back by any, well, walls. The album marks a beginning to a career in music that can only expand.