Heartless Bastards: Restless Ones

Warming yet moody fifth album from rootsy Cincinnati quartet.

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Over the years, Heartless Bastards have been pegged against fellow Ohioans The Black Keys; partly due to shared geography, partly due to comparable olde roots-meets-newer garage sensibilities.

The androgynous vocals of Erika Wennerstrom, however, afford them an underlying darkness and characterful voice against their sunnier qualities.

Moreover, much of Restless Ones points to the blues-rooted tones of The White Stripes. The core melody on Gates Of Dawn could have come from Elephant — or a warmer, less minimalistic version of it — and if Jack White were a woman, he’d probably sound like Wennerstrom.

Their colour palette doesn’t end here, though. Kitchen sink garage-rock in Black Cloud, warm ‘n’ toasty Americana in the likes of Journey, a hint of The Allman Brothers in the lead guitar of Eastern Wind… it’s an inviting smorgasbord of both gritty and cosy sides of the roots spectrum./o:p