Out of the closet
What gets me about emo/screamo/whatever-mo is that it’s hard to reconcile between the music and the vocals/lyrics. The music is cool, it’s tight, it rocks, it grooves, it sounds good and is well played. The vocals on the other hand, are high pitched and whiny to the point of exasperation. And the whingy ‘woe is me, my life sucks, I hate the world’ lyrics could send you right over the edge. Check out Broken Man for proof.
Get a gutsier vocalist in and Hawthorne Heights could be an excellent rock band, as opposed to an annoying emo band. There is some reasonable stuff going on here, some real catchiness (see Drive), some seriously rockin’ moments (Abandoned Driveways for example) and even some variation/experimentation (check out the acoustic shanty Gravestones, which morphs into a ballad for the chorus, and actually works well. And Here I Am is a nice fat shuffle). They shake things up and avoid writing the same song 13 times. Would it sell, however, with a different vocalist? This is the $64,000 question. They obviously think not, almost 10 years and four albums into their career.
Overall, this band isn’t pretending to be anything that they’re not. They’re emo and proud, and they probably know they’ll be hated for that fact, but they don’t seem to care. They’ll no doubt stick to their guns and keep belting (and whining) it out, despite the haters, as long the emo’s keep buying it. And I suppose they should be respected for that.
(Wind Up Records)