It’s only fitting that the Cincinnati garage blues band, Heartless Bastards, dropped their fourth album, Arrow, on Valentines Day.

The Heartless Bastards who were once considered illegitimate spawns of fellow Ohio natives The Black Keys now stand alongside them atop the blues-rock modernist movement. As leader of the band Erika Wennerstrom has transplanted the Heartless Bastards from their Ohio roots to Austin, Texas. Their new surroundings have evidently influenced the band and their new album, Arrow. Their sound continues the gritty garage blues-rock fans of Heartless Bastards have become accustomed to hearing but also adds a taste of country and folk. 

Erika’s vocals gnarl, roar, and rip through Arrow with a retro blues dominance Jimmy Page and Janis Joplin would both envy and admire. Whether it be a slower folk tune about the country or a hard hitting, stomp your feet beat her pitch is always meticulously and perfectly approached. Arrow also features tight guitar rifts that seem to fuse the genres of blues, jam, country and distortion seamlessly.The majority of the songs extend beyond five minutes without becoming indulgent.

Arrow is a complete album which flows and reflects the vagabond vision the Heartless Bastards are all about. Arrow reveals the perfect chemistry the band had been searching for in their previous releases. The two Ohio bands, Black Keys and Heartless Bastards, have clearly risen and conquered the style of blues-rock modernists. I just wonder who is on top? 

Simply put, Arrow is the Heartless Bastards greatest achievement to date. So buy it, download it, steal it…..Arrow will only leave you wanting more from these bastards.

Heckler: 8.5/10

 

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