Erika Wennerstrom doesn’t like to sit still.
The lead singer and guitarist of the Austin, Texas-based rock band Heartless Bastards, Wennerstrom is constantly working on a new song.
But to get to that song, she has to travel.
“Everyone has their own process when writing,” she said. “My ritual is traveling. I just left a national park. I was camping and hiking on my own with songs in my head. I was figuring it all out as I was hiking. That’s my methodology.”
In that isolation, Wennerstrom finds what she has been searching for.
“It’s easy to reach out to people and find things to distract myself,” she said. “But when I’m out there in the desert, what else can I do? I’m there with my thoughts, and it comes out.”
For her and her band, it’s a formula that has worked.
The band, which is performing Thursday at Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge, is touring behind its fifth album, “Restless Ones.”
Restless is a preferred adjective to describe Wennerstrom and her work ethic.
“I feel like it’s hard to sit still sometimes,” she said. “I’m constantly working on things. I feel like things are constantly in motion. I also feel like a lot of people in my life — band members or friends — there are a lot of people in that similar place.”
Like 2012’s critically-acclaimed release before it, titled “Arrow,” the band’s latest album is another winning entry in driving rock ’n’ roll.
“Arrow” propelled the band into the alternative rock limelight, thanks to songs like “Parting Ways” and the T. Rex-like strut of “Got to Have Rock and Roll.”
The band landed an opening slot, touring with Bob Seger, who played Lafayette’s Cajundome in February 2015. The band also was one of the headliners at last year’s Baton Rouge Blues Festival.
Unlike “Arrow,” which was produced by Spoon drummer and producer Jim Eno after months on the road, “Restless Ones” has an of-the-moment feel that Wennerstrom credits to producer John Congleton.
“He didn’t want to us to second guess things,” Wennerstrom said. “He just wanted us to go for it.”
Wennerstrom’s soulful, blues-y vocals are a highlight alongside the tightly wound pocket of songs like “Hi-Line” and “Into the Light.”
There’s still a bit of homage to classic rock on “Restless Ones,” too. Check the furious intro on the album’s opener, “Wind Up Bird,” where drummer Dave Colvin sounds like Keith Moon on the kit, hitting everything in sight.
But mostly, the album is another avenue for Wennerstrom to explore what’s in her head. Almost naturally, all the critics and music journalists point to a sense of longing in her voice.
“I definitely write from within,” she said. “I find my songs are honest. Maybe too honest, sometimes. I’m always wanting to work towards something in my life. I don’t know if I want to be completely content.
“Maybe being restless is actually a great thing. It drives me.”
Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.