After a six year break, the Heartless Bastards are back with another release. Restless Ones has been their most recent recording so far – from 10th September 2021, you may also listen to A Beautiful Life. Here are my thoughts.
Heartless Bastards – About The Artists
The Heartless Bastards do blues rock since 2003. They are originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, where they have been formed by Erika Wennerstrom. The name has a funny background: one of the potential replies in a quiz game about the name of backing band of Tom Petty was Tom Petty and the Heartless Bastards. Wennerstrom is a multi-instrumentalist and played several ones at the beginning of the band. Two of the founding members, drummer David Colvin and bassist Jesse Ebaugh, are still active band members as well. The quartet is complete with Mark Nathan (guitars). A Beautiful Life is the band’s sixth album. Their releases started with the 2005 Stairs and Elevators. The most successful albums so far are Arrow (2012) and Restless Ones (2015).
Heartless Bastards – A Beautiful Life – Track by Track
The eleven track album lasts 54 minutes.
The Heartless Bastards enjoy long and epic tracks. The opening track is the longest one on the album – reserve a bit more than six minutes to welcome the A Beautiful Life album’s first one. The blues touch in this track is rather limited. There is a nice melody in the song. However, there are also distorted guitar solos or the band just shouting Revolution to the chorus. A song to wake you up, to make you listen to the ten more songs which are ahead of the listener.
2. How Low
Sometimes i can hardly take it oh the world has so much needless suffering On and on it never stops oh don’t you see On and on it never stops how much do you really need Oh how low will you go to get to the top I hope we never really have find out Oh how low will you go oh to get to the top Can we all try to find some balance
Another very social-critic track. Climate change and destroying nature are the key topics of this song. The band has a very simple advice against all that: Let’s all fill up with love – will it be that easy? The song itself has a surprisingly happy sound, sometimes reminds me of 1970’s tracks with a touch of funk and soul.
3. When I Was Younger
The musical retrospective to earlier times of life does not feel to be that important to the band – at least they dedicate the shortest track of the album to When I Was Younger. Very interesting contrast of very harmonic and melodic sounds, which still form quite a weird, almost psychedelic song.
4. You Never Know
You never know unless you let yourself see You never know unless you open up your eyes You never know until ya do
Ain’t the message of this song so simple? Especially, the post-chorus feels like summer, like warmth and harmony. The song is very melodic and by that very catching. Very nice and relaxing listen.
5. A Beautiful Life
A Beautiful Life is the second (and last) track on the album which exceeds a six minute playtime. The song feels very beautiful, like the title – however, there is a limitation. The lyrics state It’s a beautiful life if you let it be. A song with ups and downs. Good listen, indeed.
6. The River
The River allows some time for an extended retro, before the band is heading back to a very melodic rock style. A song which feels very emotional and comes with different kinds of melodies. Not my favorite track of the album.
Photograph is starting with powerful riffs. However, the song is heading back to the very harmonic-melodic style. Especially in the long instrumental bridge, the song almost reminds me of meditation music. After the bridge, the guitars are back in the song and lead to a nice traditional rock song feeling.
The acoustic guitar gives a feeling of country or folk, but the Heartless Bastards put some synth keys on top of these harmonies. Dust is a very slow and makes you listen to it. Unfortunately, to me, it manages this mission just very partially. More a lullaby-style track to me.
Won’t you come with me oh let’s radiate There’s no need to escape from the darkness Won’t you come with me oh we’ll light our own there’s no need to escape lets just be I realize I don’t know anything at all Oh my world it was so very small I’m just a tiny speck of dust amongst it all
9. Went Around the World
In this song, the drummer is having the strongest presence of all band members. David Colvin is even louder and easier to listen to than Wennerstrom. The song, which has some string sounds as well, is definitely a special one. It gives me a much easier task to follow it for five minutes than the track before, I have to admit.
10. Doesn’t Matter Now
The happy folk-alike sound of Doesn’t Matter Now could have been a great selection for the chucker-out of the album. You would leave the world of A Beautiful Life with a good mood and a smile in your face. One of my favorites.
11. The Thinker
The Thinker, one of the songs released before the album, is very slow and coming with that thoughtful and blues touch at the very end of the album. More like a step-by-step farewell from the album. I would have loved to close it with the happy feeling.
Heartless Bastards – A Beautiful Life – Spotify
Here is A Beautiful Life on Spotify:
Heartless Bastards – A Beautiful Life – My View
The Heartless Bastards really created a nice 2021 album. I would have to have some more energizing moments, but I do like the thoughtful, deep style of the album as well. Nice production – if you enjoy and listen to music like reading a book, A Beautiful Life could be a really nice option.