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All This Time

Heartless Bastards

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Album Review

During some of the better moments of All This Time, the second album from Ohio's the Heartless Bastards, one gets the feeling that this trio could be the Midwestern cousin of PJ Harvey — not Polly Harvey the singer and songwriter — but the bone-shattering power trio named for the bandleader on Dry and Rid of Me. While frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom doesn't particularly sound like Polly, she conjures up a similar degree of gale-force vocal impact and plays a not-dissimilar variety of dirty, elemental electric guitar, while her rhythm section (Kevin Vaughn on drums and Mike Lamping on bass) calls up a massive Wall of Sound and energy behind her. But a few spins of All This Time makes it clear the similarity between the Heartless Bastards and PJ Harvey is a matter of similar musical philosophy rather than conscious emulation, and that Wennerstrom has a flinty, down-to-earth lyrical perspective that reflects the experiences of someone who was born and raised in Ohio (and still works a day job when not on the road). All This Time makes a powerful virtue of its muscular, no-frills production, and Brian Niesz's engineering, which allows the individual elements to stand out while still coalescing into a unified and gloriously dangerous whole. All This Time swings with the force of a heavyweight champ, but there's an unpretentious intelligence, compassion, and cautious hope in these ten songs, and the Heartless Bastards bring them across with an elegance that belies their muscle; they know how to say a great deal with a little, and that's a large part of what makes this album worth hearing.

Customer Reviews

So Many Cool Songs!

Love the title track, Blue Day, Valley of Debris and Into The Open. Similar to the Black Keys - you can just tell that it's only a matter of time before the Heartless Bastards break thru to the big time.


Formed: Dayton, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Anchored by the powerful vocals and incisive songwriting of Erika Wennerstrom, the Heartless Bastards are a roots rock band whose tough, emotionally resonant music incorporates elements of blues, hard rock, garage punk and country as filtered through tales of a hardscrabble life lived in the American Midwest. Erika Wennerstrom was born in Dayton, Ohio; her parents broke up when she was nine, leaving her mother to support her and her brother. Wennerstrom grew up with a keen interest in music and songwriting,...
Full bio

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