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Heartless Bastards | The Mountain

Fat Possum (2009)
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  February 9, 2009
"I made a lot of choices, most have not been wise," sings Erika Wennerstrom on the third album by her Ohio-based garage-rock trio.

I can't speak to the wisdom of Wennerstrom's romantic decisions; to judge by the heartache she sings about throughout The Mountain, it sounds as if homegirl had indeed made a few missteps. There's not much fault to find with the music here, however, particularly when she elects to dial down the raw-edged guitar fuzz the Bastards have become known for.

These folks are top-shelf shitkickers — check out the bruising power-chord beatdown she delivers in "Early in the Morning" — but there's something to be said for dynamics, and the Bastards say it for the first time here, alternating their trademark barn burners with gentler acoustic fare like "Be So Happy" and "Had To Go," the latter of which could pass for an outtake from T Bone Burnett's Cold Mountain soundtrack. Wennerstrom hasn't weakened — she's just discovered the power of contrast.
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