“Hope” Hawthorne Heights, CD Review

July 13, 2012 by: Shauna O'Donnell

“Hope” Hawthorne Heights, CD Review

by Matty

Hawthorne Heights are:  J.T. Woodruff- Guitars/Vocals

Matt Ridenour- Bass
Micah Carli- Guitar
Eron Bucciarelli- Drums
out of Dayton, Ohio

Where to find Hawthorne Heights:  www.hawthorneheights.com
www.facebook.com/HawthorneHeights “like” their Facebook page
www.myspace.com/hawthorneheights “friend” them on MySpace
www.purevolume.com/hawthorneheights

“Hope” EP available on I-Tunes via Cardboard Empire Records
Release date:  June 5th, 2012

There was a time when Dayton, Ohio alternative rock band Hawthorne Heights were on top of the MTV and MTV2 world.  One could not turn on MTV without seeing their smash video entitled “Ohio Is For Lovers” on the rotation and on the airwaves.  Hawthorne Heights decided to go independent via Cardboard Empire Records. This is a band that has pressed on after losing their beloved bandmate Casey Calvert before their tour stop in Washington D.C.  Casey died of combined drug intoxication. They chose to press on after this, dedicating two songs to their bandmate/friend.   This is a band that makes regular stops on the Vans Warped Tour and eats, sleeps, and breathes their music.  Hawthorne Heights has released quite a creative concept EP entitled “Hope”, which is a follow up of their first release of the trilogy of EPs under Cardboard Empire Records entitled “Hate”.

“Hope” starts off with a somewhat creepy intro entitled “There Was A Kid” (Part 2).  It has haunting pianos and a muffled child’s voice in the song.  I have a hard time making out what the child is saying, however, it seems to drive home the question on “where do we go from here”.  Then, “Hope” kicks into the rocking first single off of the EP entitled “New Winter”.

Essentially, Hawthorne Heights likes to be labeled as a “rock band”.  I believe that this band is groundbreaking in terms of the “screamo” genre.  The screams are at the necessary parts of the music, the rhythm section is undeniable, and J.T. Woodruff has a really good alternative rock voice that is high-pitched, but doesn’t sound whiny or nasally.  “New Winter”’s first first has some really hopeful(no pun intended) lyrics in this song.  “The world is full of what might’ve been, and never was, but we all sink like lead, but we are crashing and flaming out, our words are heavier coming from our mouths, but this new winter won’t bring me down, won’t bring me down, and there have been times when I thought I was losing my mind, home is where I lay my head tonight” sings J.T. in a desperate and urgent tone.  Hawthorne Heights is a band that has always meant a lot to their rabid fan base because of lyrics like these.  The guitars are brilliant in this song.  This particular track is a blueprint on how an alternative rock song should sound.  “Running In Place” has a “mark-out” moment for me.

The opening riffs in the aforementioned track give me the absolute goosebumps.  The song talks about how trivial we can be with our problems and our concerns where there are nationwide struggles and other problems going on in the world.  They want to encourage the listener to press on and how one’s problems are trivial in the grand scheme of things.
This album also provides experimentation in tracks as seen in a track entitled “Nowhere Fast”.

“Nowhere Fast” has a thick, grovelly bassline and harmonics in the guitars.  It sounds like it was influenced(not copied obviously) by the song “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers, the beginning part anyways.  It’s a great track that shows their fans that this is the reason why they went independent in terms of record labels.  They wanted to have creative control in their music.

This 8 track EP is available on I-Tunes.  I will definitely be checking out “Hate” in order to get the complete story.  This is a wonderful story in the EP that is picturesque and it also allows the listener to put themselves in the songwriter’s shoes and experience all the settings, senses, moods, and various attitudes of this EP.  Hawthorne Heights have a few more tour dates in support of the “Hope” EP.  Please check it out below and check out my Fave Five list below.

Matty’s Fave Five List
1.  Running In Place
2.  Hope
3.  Vandemonium
4.  Stranded
5.  New Winter

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