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New Heights?

| March 1, 2006 | 0 Comments

Hawthorne Heights
If Only You Were Lonely
(Victory)

Label’s fastest-selling band gets ducks in a row for sophomore album/professional debut.

Hawthorne’s drummer, Eron Bucciarelli, told our magazine last fall about the band’s displeasure with their debut, The Silence In Black And White. Thinking they sounded like cardboard in the studio, Lonely was supposedly built to tap into their live energy. Well, the new album sounds better, but to these ears it sounds even more pro. A lot of that can be attributed to spending nearly two years straight on the road, as fine a place as ever to come together and be a unit. But the most unified thing about Lonely seems to have been a decision to eviscerate jagged edges — most notably the metalcore screaming — to expand a fanbase.

It’s a cynical ploy that probably works for the best anyway. The watering down establishes their better traits — chord-based guitars, anthemic choruses — but maybe led HH to believe they could get away with some cheapies. Lead single “Staying Same” is a Jimmy Eat World track by any other name, and “Light Sleeper” could have made it, legitimately, on “Dial MTV” in 1991. When they work less hard trying to appease, “Decembers” — depite its numbing sentimentality — shows ambition and “Pens & Needles” has the energy Lonely was supposed to be all about.

5

— Steve Forstneger

Appearing: April 19th at UIC Pavilion.

Category: Spins, Weekly

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