Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heartless Bastards - Arrow

When I hear "blues-rock" three things come to mind. The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and Heartless Bastards. It's very fitting that the new Heartless Bastards album, Arrow, was released on Valentine's Day. Not that the album is romantic or even anti-romantic. In fact, that's just one way that this album is quite different from their previous albums.

Heartless Bastards' lead singer/songwriter/frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom has described the album as having a "super spaghetti western-type vibe." Having recently spent time in the Catskill Mountains, a cabin, and a ranch in West Texas, it's safe to say that this album has been influenced by the great outdoors. Honestly, it makes me want to chase murderers through a canyon in Arizona, armed with only a shotgun and my wits.

The album starts with "Marathon," a slow-building, moody song that hits you like a train when the whole band comes in. "I'm on my way home," croons Wennerstrom like a cowboy that's been gone too long. "Only For You" is the closest to a love song on this one, with vocals that are belted out without feeling strained at all. The "ooh's" on "Skin And Bones" are terribly beautiful and the guitar solo echoes it right back. "Got To Have Rock and Roll," "Simple Feeling," and "Late In The Night," capture the pure rock sound that Heartless Bastards are known for. The album closer, "Down In The Canyon," is a seven minute epic that builds from a slow and angry tune to an intense, fast, pissed-off rock song. Near the end, it feels as though every single member of this band is putting absolutely everything that they can into the song.

Filled with imagery of mountains and the west, this is a great album to listen to while at your cabin, rock climbing, fishing, playing hunting video games, eating steak, sitting outside, or drinking coffee. The Heartless Bastards seem to have changed as a band but that's alright. When artists don't change, they're boring. The trick is to change in an interesting way. Arrow does just that.

1 comment:

  1. Just listened to a few songs. I would love to get this and listen to it in a coffee show while I'm on my laptop. Side note: I'm can't tell if the singer is a male or a female.