Muses by Tom

End of the underground

Posted in Music,Reviews by Tom on June 5, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

Since guitarist Casey Calvert‘s unfortunate death in 2007, Ohio’s Hawthorne Heights struggled to carry on going. They did not replace Calvert, but instead continued as a four-piece. Their first album after the loss of Calvert, entitled Fragile Future, showed the band moving forward.  The only thing that was missing was Casey Calvert’s trademark vocals.  While Fragile Future was a good effort and did feature two songs in tribute to Casey (Sugar in the Engine and Four Become One), it had a hard time measuring up to their previous album, If Only You Were Lonely.

On June 1, 2010, Hawthorne Heights released their fourth studio album, Skeletons. It is a given that if you take away a key member of any band, they are going to sound significantly different.  While Fragile Future still had hints of old Hawthorne in it, Skeletons feels like a complete reinvention. It almost makes it sound like a completely different band is performing the songs.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. The band wastes no time tip toeing around the skeptics, jumping right into the album with Bring You Back, a song about suicide. The absence of Calvert’s screaming on this record is obvious and can’t be masked, but it works.  Calvert was a talented musician, but I think this new style suits Hawthorne Heights quite well. Skeletons is a less textbook-emo album, but is trendy according to other bands on the scene today. Calvert did help the band stand out, but now they are in danger of being pigeonholed as just another alternative outfit. It is only fitting that the album features a song named End of the Underground as this album drags the band (even more) into the mainstream. That being said, this sound will help Hawthorne Heights sell more records. Besides that, it’s not a bad sound for them and it suits JT Woodruff’s vocal style.

Tracks such as Drive and Gravestones highlight the change Hawthorne Heights has undergone, whereas songs like Abandoned Driveways, Unforgivable, Last Few Words, and Bring you Back remind fans why they love the band so much. While it looks like we have said good bye to the old Hawthorne Heights, I for one welcome the new sound with open arms.

Skeletons track listing:

1. Bring You Back

2. Nervous Breakdown

3. End of the Underground

4. Drive

5. Gravestones

6. Broken Man

7. Last Few Words

8. Abandoned Driveways

9. Picket Fences

10. Here I Am

11. Hollywood & Vine

12. Unforgivable

13. Boy


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