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The solitary struggles and internal vacillation that helped Erika Wennerstrom build The Mountain have led her to a grounded place of reflection on the Heartless Bastards' new album Arrow (out now on Partisan). This 10-song LP is a travelogue from the open road that rambles through the rust-colored dirt and expansive landscape of the Southwest. “Marathon,” a meditative prologue, is the warm-up stretch that kicks the journey into gear, rolling into the fits and starts of “Parted Ways.” The seductive sway of the blues-heavy “Only for You” hits a high note--both vocally and personally--as Wennerstrom opens up her voice and her injured-but-poised heart. The track that inspired the album title, “The Arrow Killed the Beast,” is a woozy drawl from the Wild West. Like the rest of the album, the song is a wide-angle sweep of the vast horizon, epic in both size and scale.

-Kristina Ensminger

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