Blues-rockers, Heartless Bastards, release their latest Album, Restless Ones on 22nd June. The album is littered with dirty blues riffs and Erika Wennerstrom’s signature syrupy vocals, making it a superbly foot-tapping collection of new material from the Chicago quartet. The LP opens with the grungy cacophony of Wind Up Bird, a rather rude awakening if I’ve ever heard one, setting the mood of the album perfectly.
Gates of Dawn follows suit with a catchy vocal melody, bolstered by ruthlessly overdriven riffs and hooks. The album then transitions to a cleaner sound and becomes altogether more blues based from the advent of Black Cloud. These influences are spread throughout the next 7 tracks with good measures of other Americana to boot. Country influences are most prominent through the blues veil, particularly in Hi-Line, Journey, Pocket Full of Thirst and the penultimate Eastern Wind. These 4 tracks draw comparison with the likes of early Led Zeppelin (albeit less ostentatious!) and The Eagles with saturated reverb and concert-hall vocals. At this point I could have easily convinced myself I’d been transported back in time to the glory days of rock!
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It’s a shame that I don’t get on with the overly-artsy album closer, Tritessa leaving the listen on a downer for me, the track isn’t in true keeping with the rest of the material and feels like a bit of a filler, but it does little to spoil my enjoyment of the preceding 9 tracks.
While it probably won’t make waves in the broader market, if you like blues or blues-rock, Restless Ones a must have for your collection and gets a big thumbs up from me.
Catch Heartless Bastards Live this autumn:
Tue 1 September 2015 UK London Borderline
Wed 2 September 2015 UK Bristol The Lantern
Sun 6 September 2015 UK Manchester Ritz