Heartless Bastards, “Restless Ones”

Heartless Bastards
Restless Ones
PARTISAN
7/10

There is something quite comforting about the new Heartless Bastards album Restless Ones. It could be frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom’s ability to evoke a sense of calm familiarity with her dulcet vocals, or it might be the no-frills, bluesy rock and roll that the Cincinnati band has championed for the last decade. On Restless Ones, Heartless Bastards continue to distill their folk, country, and rock influences down to a highly effective, stripped-down and earthy sound. Opening track “Wind Up Bird” finds the group at its most energetic with distorted guitar shredding and rapid-fire drum fills. By the time the Bastards reach the gentle sway of pop-rocky “Pocket Full of Thirst,” there’s need for a sonic change of pace, which arrives— a little late, but thoughtfully—with the psychedelic rumbles and gentle, murmured vocals of “Tristessa.” While Heartless Bastards have a masterful command on their genre and sound, it’s those experimental—and touching—moments of Restless Ones’ closing track that leave listeners craving more.

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