Portraits & Walls

spread joy, spread music

The Week’s Release: 2/13-2/19

Releases for the past week, featuring albums by Heartless Bastards, Islands, Polica, Rickolus, Tennis, Young Magic and EPs by Belle Histoire and Lucius

Arrow by Heartless Bastards

Started in Dayton, Ohio, Heartless Bastards is fronted by lead singer and primary song writer Erika Wennerstrom.  Finding her calling in music after dropping out of high school and moving to Cincinnati, Wennerstrom began singing at open mic nights and decided to form a band.   Taking their name from an incorrect trivia answer at a bar, Heartless Bastards has released four albums since 2005, and gone through various musician line-ups over the years.

The strongest aspect of the album is definitely Wennerstrom’s powerful vocals, but doesn’t be misguided into thinking that’s the album’s only strong suit. Heartless Bastards carefully place cymbal rolls and guitar riffs to compose catchy tracks. Some songs outshine the others (particularly “Marathon”), and as a result the others are easily forgotten. Memorable or not, Arrows is a quality listen: 7.5/10.

What the Critics Say:

“Where in the past the Heartless Bastards’ music often seemed to come second to Wennerstrom’s huge voice or meandered too long in extended jam sessions, it all flows easier this time around, with the band kicking back and returning to the forefront at all the right points” – Mohammad Choudhery of Consequence of Sound (3.5/5)

It helps that the Bastards play loud and hard enough to nearly drown out her vocals, reveling in the musical as well as the sexual tension. That’s arguably more rock’n’roll than another song about rock’n’roll.” – Stephen Deusner of Pitchfork (6.4/10)

Wennerstrom has said that this is the most cohesive that they have been as a band when recording an album, and the evidence couldn’t be more abundant.” – Charlie Duerr of Paste Magazine (8/10)


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