Saturday, October 9, 2021
On the new album A Beautiful Life, Heartless Bastards share a wide-eyed and radiant vision for harmonizing a broken world. The Ohio-bred and Texas-transplanted band’s first new music since 2015’s Restless Ones, A Beautiful Life affirms frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom as a songwriter with the power to profoundly influence our state of mind, often by alchemizing her idealism into viscerally potent rock-and-roll songs. With its delicate coalescence of so many eclectic touchstones—French pop and Celtic folk, space rock and symphonic pop, Disney scores and post-punk—the result is an album that immediately lures the listener into a more receptive mindset, one that leads to deeper generosity, greater compassion, and a restored sense of possibility.
Like many timeless songwriters before her, Wennerstrom channels her nuanced observation of the outside world into music that incites contemplation, catharsis, and a joyful sense of defiance. “It’s so easy to get caught up in the material goals that are prioritized by our society and the every-man-for-himself mentality of late-stage capitalism,” Wennerstrom says of the album’s central themes. “That way of thinking presents a false idea of what a beautiful life is, and I think it’s so important that we as individuals all ask ourselves what it truly means to have a beautiful life.”