Garage rock act Heartless Bastards have been around since 2003 and had to watch their fellow Ohio natives The Black Keys go on to success whilst they have plugged away in the background. This clearly hasn’t worn them down or made them bitter as they offer up a lighthearted video for their single Hi-Line.
A video that starts off with a midget acting as their agent / producer selling them as a hip hop act to one client and then a country act to another sees them appear in the video dressed in very unconvincing hip hop get up, complete with low-rider before changing into something that suits them more with their cowboy country and western get up. Finally they switch to some sort of death metal Queen tribute act that is just kind of weird.
The video itself is lighthearted, if not quite “hilarious” but the song is punchy, sweet and features a combination of warm, comfortable music, guitar working slapping along nicely alongside the off-kilter vocal styles of lead singer Erika Wennerstrom. Erika, never destined to be a classic female lead singer, has a tone that’s not quite a growl but not quite a purr, the lyrics snip up at the edges a bit but her vocals are rich and well chosen.
The song is a nice, warm pop song that doesn’t overstay its welcome despite a longer than normal run time of around five minutes. The light hearted video sets a tone that adds to the song but is far from a deal breaker.
Heartless Bastards must be kidding: from this video they seem like they’re just playing anyway.