Self Defense Family are one of the most prolific Punk bands out there today. Through countless releases and as many musical contributors (they have had more than ten active members at any given time), the collective has grown in both sound and vision.“Heaven Is Earth” was recorded at four classic indie/punk studios by a diverse group of engineers: Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios (Mind Eraser, etc), Kurt Ballou at God City Studios (Converge, etc), Mark Millar at Sone Lab (Dinosaur Jr, etc), and Jon Low at Miner Street Recordings (Kurt Vile, etc). Each engineer leaving their own distinct audio fingerprint on the collection of songs.
Opener “In My Defense Self Me Defend” percussively wanders as warped guitars weave a pillow for Patrick Kindlon’s introspective prose.“Talia” introduces both piano and harmonica to the formula, all of it swirling and dancing around a throbbing bass line. “Ditko” exists in a similar sonic place as well, but utilizes textural guitars and subtle effects to set the pensive mood. It’s not all sad clown music though. “Prison Ring” picks things up in the middle of the album with a Mekons like urgency. While “Everybody Wants a Prize for Feeling” welcomes a whimsical stomp akin to The Fall. These reluctantly upbeat songs lead to the title track “Heaven Is Earth”. A song that descends with a delicate airiness while dealing out some of the heaviest moments of lyrical personal reflection. “Basic Skills” fills a similar space as well. A beautiful construct of a song, rich in melancholia but built on some of the most memorable melody ever from the band. Never leaving quietly, Self Defense Family then offer the closer “Dave Sim”. Kicking the door open for one last high volume, pessimistic hurrah.