Stick to your guns

Local band The Heart Pills debuts “Gunfighter” on Saturday at House of Rock


Guitarist Josh Ingersoll performs from his group’s new album, “Gunfighter” on Saturday night at the House of Rock. © 2014 Emily Albrent

Story by Glen Olson, Staff Writer

The Heart Pills headlined Saturday night at the House of Rock of Water Street to release their new album “Gunfighter.”

The local band followed Meridene, who is from Eau Claire, and the Traveling Suitcase, from Oshkosh.

The show, like the new album, highlighted the band’s eclectic sound.

The band’s members, Sarah Bodeau on keys, Josh Ingersoll on guitar, Matt Haapala on bass and Silas Thompson on drums, have been playing together for about two and a half years, and this album has been a long project for them.

“It’s been  a while,” Matt Haapala said, “working on (the album), trying to get into the studio.”

The band members said they don’t put a lot of emphasis on trying to stick to one type of sound. They said having an off-the-cuff approach is just the way their band works.

“(Gunfighter is) westerny, it’s science-fictiony,” Thompson said. “Basically, it’s everything.”

The album started as a project off the song Cabaret Lady, in which the mash-up of rock, western and electronics is clear.

“That’s when we decided to keep going,” Josh Ingersoll said, “and do some westerny tunes.”

As the album flows, the different sounds aren’t distracting, although the band members describe the group as murky and mysterious.

“It’s not good to tell people what you’re going for,” Haapala said. “It’s better to let them figure it out, decide for themselves.”

And people seem to be figuring it out. The House of Rock was packed with people, and several people were there as soon as the bar opened and waited through each opening band.

The band said they enjoy being able to play whatever kind of songs they want, and the audience seemed to like the surprise.

And when the surprise is a sound like Clint Eastwood walking sideways out of a spaghetti western, that’s all the better.

But Haapala said even if that doesn’t sound like something you would like, keep listening to “Gunfighter.”

“Our songs all sound different,” Haapala said, “so even if you don’t like it, stick around.”

The Heart Pill’s new album, “Gunfighter,” can be found on their bandcamp site.