Hawthorne Heights may only just be entering their sixth year as a band but already they have a rap sheet that would make other bands pale in significance. Like an episode of VH1’s Behind The Music, Dayton Ohio’s Hawthorne Heights have certainly had a rollercoaster ride of a career encompassing the dizzy heights of their debut album, ‘The Silence In Black’, a law suit with their former label and of course the tragic loss of their guitarist Casey Calvert who died on tour with the band in 2007. For many bands, such events would have been enough to derail them, to make them come to a screeching halt but somehow the quartet have pulled through, bouncing back with a new album released through a new label, Wind -Up Records. In ‘Skeletons’, the Ohio band has quite literally gone back to basics, stripped down to the bare essentials and created an album that explodes with honest, heartfelt emotion.
Packed with irresistible pop-punk riffs welded to lyrics that ooze emotion with a raw honesty to stir even the blackest heart, ‘Skeletons’ is a master class in how to create an album of unapologetically infectious hits that scream to be unleashed across the airwaves. Opening proceedings with ‘Bring You Back’, Hawthorne Heights immediately go for the jugular, unleashing a rush of riffs that stab playfully alongside JT Woodruff’s brutally honest lyrics that build to an infectious chorus, teasing and enticing until there is no option but to join in. ‘Here I Am’ punches and pounds with glee as Woodruff’s venom filled lyrics set out to slay his would-be haters, revealing an engagingly lively burst of feel goodness to beat the bullies back. This is matched only by ‘Abandoned Driveways'’ sense of urgency, standing in stark contrast to the bitter darkness of ‘Nervous Breakdown’, propelling you to the dance floor amidst lyrics laced with hate; brilliantly brutal.
But the band hasn’t taken the easy route and rested on their laurels; ‘Skeletons’ doesn’t just regurgitate the same tried and tested formula. From the jaunty, foot-tapping country-esque shuffle of ‘Gravestones’ that unfolds into an epic vastness of lush sound to the electro-fused start of ‘Drive’ that quickly ushers in a road trip vibe before exploding into a catchy chorus, ‘Skeletons’ refuses to stomp over old ground.
Setting out to snag those last few ounces of emotion from the listener, ‘Picket Fences’ finds the band even offering some soaring pop friendly harmonies beside the eerily calm acoustics of the track leaving the autobiographical ‘Boy’ propelling ‘Skeletons’ to an emotionally epic conclusion.
For those who fell in love with Hawthorne Heights six years ago, ‘Skeletons’ will merely reaffirm their passion for a band that has survived so much in such a short time. For those who have yet to truly listen to the band, this is an album that will alter your perceptions. This is a band to take to your heart and there is no better album than ‘Skeletons’ to act as your tour guide.
'Skeletons' is released in June.