Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
I love, love, love this album. This may be one of my favorites of all time. Now it is not new, it has been out since 2006. However, it is new on Bandcamp so it is fair game for a review. Trust me on this one, this is an absolute gem. The lead singer, Erika Wennerstrom has one of the best voices in rock and roll. And on All This Time she really showcases her incredible voice. It is hard to categorize this album. It is part garage, Americana, psych rock, and part straight ahead rock and roll. This is a case where all of the components and elements come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
The name of the band came from a trivia question in a bar. There was a multiple choice question that asked the name of Tom Petty’s backing band and one of the choices was Tom Petty and The Heartless Bastards. Erika thought this was funny and also thought it was a good band name. The name is definitely memorable. But more memorable than the name, is the talent in the band. Erika (guitar and vocals) and Dave Colvin (drums) are the two original members. The other guitar and bass players have also been top notch players. They hail from Cincinnati, OH and were part of a very thriving music scene.
There is not a weak song on All This Time. From the first note to the last, this album is absolutely on fire. This is the fastest 40 minutes you will spend. Every time I listen, I always wish it was longer. Then I just play it again. Problem solved.
I have listened to this album enough to have formed some real attachment to all of the songs on here. If I have to rank them, I would put Blue Day (Track 7) at the front of the line. This song is one of my favorite songs ever. It starts off with this almost psychedelic guitar riffs that repeats a few times until Erika starts singing with her powerful and heavenly voice:
It's been a long day When nothing seems to be goin' my way I really don't need a lot Just trying to hold on to what I got Lord knows it's been a while Since my face has cracked a smile So hot in the midday sun Seem to be burnin' everyone Oh self destruction It is keeping me from functioning I try to build things up I build things up and I tear them down
Then the guitar riff resurfaces, accompanied by some great feedback. It is a perfect song. I have listened to it more times than I can count and I still love hearing it. That is a true testament to a phenomenal song.
All This Time (Track 4) is another song that I absolutely adore. Erika’s voice is again front and center and really takes control. There is still room for some very nice noisy guitar parts when Erika is not singing that add real interest and appeal to this number.
Then there is Brazen (Track 5), which is an absolutely gorgeous tune with the perfect balance of harmony and distortion. Again, Erika’s voice is the glue that brings this number together. The guitar solos are also really nice and add the perfect accompaniment to the singing.
It is a rare instance where I can review an album that I know has the ability to transcend time. All This Time by Heartless Bastards is definitely in that category. If you own it already, listen to it again. If you don’t, you need to. This will soon be one of the favorites in your collection. Gaaaarunteeed!