Review: Heartless Bastards

Heartless Bastards
“Stairs and Elevators”
(Fat Possum)

When you write research papers for college professors they always drone on about developing a solid thesis and working from that to create a concise paper. Now, they’re not some cliché geek rock band at all, but the Heartless Bastards can apparently write a pretty good essay. It’s called “Stairs and Elevators” and it’s thesis is found (like most good papers) in the introduction: “So I march my feet to a different drum.” Simple enough but don’t be so foolish. “Stairs and Elevators” is a refrain to something special. It is brimming with a classic punk rock sound fused with the tone of grunge-distorted guitars and the laid-back mentality of…something completely different. Singer/guitarist Erika Wennerstrom is constantly marshaling her soothing and melodious vocal inflection in front of her distorted guitar and the complementary rhythm section. Songs like the near-anthem “Runnin’” come right down to being heartfelt – quite the opposite of their chosen moniker – while tracks like “Gray” and the harshly staccato “Done Got Old” will wake you up all over again.