Reviews

Hawthorne Heights sheds post-hardcore influences in ‘Bad Frequencies’

Hawthorne Heights, the band that burst onto the scene in the early 2000s with its certified golf album, The Silence in Black and White, has released a new LP — Bad Frequencies.

The now three-piece has abandoned their previously significant post-hardcore influences in the pursuit of a work that blends pop-emo song structures with more mature, yet very familiar lyrics.

Bad Frequencies does not hold up to The Silence of Black and White and If Only You Were Lonely — as likely no complete work will — but, this album is not without hits. Hawthorne Heights’ brand of emo still has something to say in the modern music scene.

Here’s my pick of the bunch from the album:

“In Gloom”

At first listen, the intro of “In Gloom,” the first track of Bad Frequencies, feels drowsy and uninspiring. As strange as it seems to say out loud, it can actually be risky to start an album off with an minute of instrumentals in the modern music culture where most music has less than 15 seconds of instrumentals before lyrics kick in, let alone the intro for an album.

But, if you are a seasoned listener of rock and emo, you hopefully gave this song more than a 65-second chance. And, if you did, your patiences pays off, as the song transitions into a dynamic pop-punk/emo tune that really propels the listener to give the rest of the album a listen.

“Edge of Town”

More than any track on the album, “Edge of Town” displays what great mixing can do.

The rhythmic palm-muting, combined with the crash of the drums in the intro, makes for a digestible pop rock beat. Early on, the song is at risk for becoming boring, but the chorus really explodes and takes advantage of lead singer JT Woodruff’s vocal abilities.

“Pills”

I’ll carry on without you here
I’ll move along this unknown road
I’ll turn your pictures to ashes before I go
As you burn away in the fire and embers
I’ll chase the trail of smoke and senders
And lose myself in your dull black glow
I’ll turn your pictures to ashes before I go

This song is undoubtedly influenced by the 2007 death of the band’s former rhythm guitarist, Casey Calvert. It’s an emo ballad that provides authentic lyrics and an appropriate tone to finish off a solid Hawthorne Heights album.

 

Album rating: 6/10.

Not many standout moments, but “Just Another Ghost,” along with the three songs mentioned in this article, upgrade an otherwise safe and plain album from stale to above average.

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