Heartless Bastards is a band who is grounded in blues rock. They’re defined by the earth-shattering vocals of their lead singer, Erika Wennerstrom. Up until their most recent album, the instruments just sounded like background music as her voice dominated their sound. Their last album, The Mountain, was a journey into banjos and folk showed an evolution from the blues rock of their first two albums. Their newest album, Arrow, is still another change in their sound. Instead of the first two albums, where the guitar and drums seemed like a backup group and not part of the band, Arrow is all about integrating both Erika Wennerstrom’s vocal power and the rhythm of the instruments. The balance that was missing from the first three albums is finally evident in Arrow, yielding the perfect harmony between vocals and instruments.
The album is all about travel and a journey. And the music itself sounds like a road trip through the wide open spaces that Wennerstrom sings about. The music is fuller, not constricted. The integration of the vocals and rhythm liberates their music, allowing the breathing room and freedom of a Kerouac-like journey. And just like the timeless and romantic vision of dropping everything and leaving the mundane for a life of freedom, the Heartless Bastards have produced a timeless and liberating new rock album with Arrow.
Reviewed by Syd the Kid