With a new lineup backing up the only original member Erika Wennerstrom and a new surrounding city in Austin, Texas what’s the newest release from Heartless Bastards going to sound like? I’m a long time fan of Heartless Bastards so when I was handed their latest release I was pretty excited to find out just that. Known for their no frills rock and roll sound and the blasting vocals of Wennerstrom, The Mountain doesn’t disappoint. Throwing in some acoustic songs this time around along with the blasting rock and roll tracks shows off the talent of Wennerstrom who can go from shaking the house to singing a lullaby.
With her new band members Billy White (bass) and Doni Schroader (drums) also comes the use of mandolins, violins and banjos taking up some room. But never comparing to the the pouding drum and bass line White and Shroader offer along with Wennerstrom on guitar on some tracks.
The album starts off with “The Mountain” the title track, which is just a great reminder of what Heartless Bastards is all about with a great story backed by great instrumental work. But the surprising “Be So Happy” in which Wennerstrom takes a very light approach to her playing is a welcomed surprise at that. Directly following is “Early in the Morning” which is an ear pounding, emotion driven track where the core of the band really shines with that great rock and roll grit Heartless Bastards has become known for. The subtle “So Quiet” another great example of the softer side of Wennerstrom followed by “Had To Go” is a seven and a half minute instrumental burst. The album finishes up with “Sway” just another great rock and roll song from Heartless Bastards.
So with a big move, new members and a different approach did Heartless Bastards pull it off and produce a really great rock and roll album? The answer is…yes, most definietley. Wennerstrom once again delivers over eleven tracks of emotional driven story work along with her great guitar work. Along with new members White and Shroader bringing something new but something old to the table didn’t hurt either with great bass lines and pounding drums fueling each song onward. Looking for a great tried and true rock and roll album from a band that only knows how to make that kind of music, than “The Mountain” the latest release from Heartless Bastards is what you’re searching for.
I give it a 9/10
-Kristopher D. Shepard