eMusic Review 0
Heartless Bastards have a simple, archetypal gravity. They're like a church bell or a lighthouse — they draw you in, and their crusty, bluesy songs grow more striking as grand outlines emerge. Even their spine-tingling 2006 college-radio totem "Into the Open" didn't take at first: It sounded like a grain-silo version of U2's War, but without cheek. The Bastards 'third album, with a new bassist and drummer (both old Dayton mates of vocalist Erika Wennerstrom, now living in her adopted home base of Austin, Texas), is just as melodically spare, relying more on acoustic instruments, but with songs as big, slow and slow-burn as ever.
The first hooks that sink in make for great driving-nowhere music: "I'm going to keep on running," Wennerstrom repeats over and over on "Nothing Seems the Same," as if nudging herself. "I'm going out to the sweet unknown," she croons in overdubbed harmony on "Be So Happy," getting more specific. She's like a cowgirl in grunge pants, her voice hovering ghostlike over songs — a stark contrast to her crude rhythm guitar, which slams into them. Wennerstrom's got a quaver to rival Corin Tucker or Jolie Holland, yet she withholds more than she releases. Lyrics… read more »