You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.


Heartless Bastards, ‘Arrow’


On Heartless Bastards’ fourth album, singer-songwriter-guitarist Erika Wennerstrom and her newest set of backing musicians continue to follow the mud-stained heartland highway that connects early Neil Young records to the latest Kings of Leon disc. Perhaps because producer Jim Eno also drums for another Austin band, Spoon, the rhythms are sharper than ever, and new second guitarist Mark Nathan helps Wennerstrom come up with guitar breaks that can sing as well as wail. But mostly the singing is left to Wennerstrom’s peculiar vocals, the group’s main attraction and distraction at once. Her delivery works on the uptempo first half, including the bittersweet return to her native Dayton, Ohio, “Skin and Bone.’’ But the ballads that dominate the disc’s second half give her too much room to savor her elongated vowels and gulped consonants, contorting the words so much their meaning becomes indistinct. Such musical mannerism has its place in rock, but on this rutted route it’s beginning to sound lost. (Out tomorrow)

ESSENTIAL “Skin and Bone’’

Heartless Bastards perform at the Middle East Downstairs Feb. 23.
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of