Heartless Bastards CD reviewed by Michael Coleman

Music Reviews
Heartless Bastards CD reviewed by Michael Coleman
Feb 20, 2009, 06:30

Heartless Bastards - The Mountain


On their third—and by far most polished—studio album, the Ohio-based Heartless Bastards stretch their bluesy sound in gratifying new directions, but they also lose a bit of the gritty urgency that permeated their previous two outings.

Erica Wennerstrom, the petite lead singer/guitarist with the gigantic lungs, is still the mesmerizing focal point of the band. Her vibrant, supple yowl is impossible to ignore. And in the past, Wennerstrom's voice was pretty much the beginning and end of the Heartless Bastards appeal. But on The Mountain, Winnerstrom and her two band mates pepper their beefy yet frequently bland guitar, drum and bass with violins, banjos and dobros. The result is interesting—in parts. “Early in the Morning” rocks with abandon, while the winsome “Out at Sea” showcases Wennerstrom's vocal dexterity. “Wide Awake” is a repetitive, narcoleptic snoozer that aims for Zepplinesque grandiosity but had me reaching for the skip button.

The Heartless Bastards have tremendous raw talent, but on The Mountain they haven't quite climbed to the top of their potential. [Fat Possum]

-Michael Coleman


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