The Cincinnati band Heartless Bastards is led by Erika Wennerstrom, whose husky vocals have fueled the group's progression into a powerhouse rock force on its fourth studio album, Arrow. The new record marinates in all that is classic rock — catchy hooks, big riffs, a powerful voice — but also sets itself apart with Wennerstrom's distinct voice.
It's true that you can still get by in rock 'n' roll on the strength of a unique voice. But it helps if said voice has something interesting to work with.
On the first three records by Heartless Bastards, that wasn't always the case. The Mountain, from 2008, had some terrific songs about a breakup, and a few that got bogged down in a rut. But on the band's latest release, Arrow, every song has a powerful, almost magnetic melody.