There’s only one course of action when you’re a band called Heartless Bastards and your album is ready for release in mid-winter. Release it on Valentine’s Day. Especially if it’s titled “Arrow” — as in the sharp thing that is Cupid’s trademark.
“The title is pure coincidence,” insists front gal Erika Wennerstrom. “Our label thought it would be funny to release a Heartless Bastards record on Valentine’s Day.”
Wennerstrom, however, feared it might look like a calculated marketing plan. Still, her label insisted people don’t remember release dates anyway, and she agreed.
“I couldn’t remember the release date of any album I’ve ever bought,” she says. “I thought, ‘It’s funny, let’s go with it.’”
On a personal and personnel level, “Arrow” is the calm after a considerable storm. Wennerstrom’s breakup with her bassist/boyfriend was well documented on their third album, “The Mountain,” but the “Mountain” touring lineup of drummer Dave Colvin, bassist Jesse Ebagh and guitarist Mark Nathan coalesced while making “Arrow.”
“As people, we’re a team,” says Wennerstrom. “I feel I’m in a good place in my life and have gotten back to who I am. Where the band is at right now is where I’ve always wanted to be, musically. It took me a while to get there.”
“Arrow” was the first album Wennerstrom had written for the band as a quartet. In many ways, she says it resulted in less pressure: “The songs always had that space, and I attempted to add those additional parts myself. This is the first time we have been able to make use of that space in a cohesive way. On ‘The Mountain,’ it was studio musicians filling the spaces. I feel like my guitar playing is a bit limited,” she adds humbly. “I hear a sound that I’m not always capable of playing, and Mark’s able to add to the songs what I don’t feel capable of.”