11 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Armed with a new band lineup and a killer batch of tunes, Heartless Bastards singer/guitarist Erika Wennerstrom makes a creative breakthrough on Arrow. The elements were always there for this Ohio native—her earlier recordings with different Bastards combined working-class smarts with garage rock muscle and R&B sweat. Arrow refines and heightens these qualities thanks to the contributions of guitarist Mark Nathan, bassist Jesse Ebaugh, and drummer Dave Colvin. Wennerstrom’s emotive, angst-tinged vocals—suggestive at times of Amy Winehouse—squeeze every bit of feeling out of her downcast yet defiant lyrics. The prevailing mood here is edgy and ominous, conveyed in the trudging beat and darkly twanging guitars of “The Arrow Killed the Beast,” “Down in the Canyon,” and similar tracks. Lighter tunes like “Marathon” and “Low Low Low” achieve equal resonance with a gentler touch. Wennerstrom projects a battered but resolute persona, whether she’s accepting loss in “Parted Ways,” looking back on sweet youth in “Skin and Bone,” or seeking good times in “Got to Have Rock and Roll.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Armed with a new band lineup and a killer batch of tunes, Heartless Bastards singer/guitarist Erika Wennerstrom makes a creative breakthrough on Arrow. The elements were always there for this Ohio native—her earlier recordings with different Bastards combined working-class smarts with garage rock muscle and R&B sweat. Arrow refines and heightens these qualities thanks to the contributions of guitarist Mark Nathan, bassist Jesse Ebaugh, and drummer Dave Colvin. Wennerstrom’s emotive, angst-tinged vocals—suggestive at times of Amy Winehouse—squeeze every bit of feeling out of her downcast yet defiant lyrics. The prevailing mood here is edgy and ominous, conveyed in the trudging beat and darkly twanging guitars of “The Arrow Killed the Beast,” “Down in the Canyon,” and similar tracks. Lighter tunes like “Marathon” and “Low Low Low” achieve equal resonance with a gentler touch. Wennerstrom projects a battered but resolute persona, whether she’s accepting loss in “Parted Ways,” looking back on sweet youth in “Skin and Bone,” or seeking good times in “Got to Have Rock and Roll.”

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