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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hawthorne Heights: Skeletons

By Nick Carrabine

About five years ago, Hawthorne Heights were on the verge of becoming one of the biggest bands on the scene.

Their first album released in 2004, The Silence in Black and White, sold just under a million records on an independent label and sparked a huge debut single, “Ohio is for Lovers.”

While their second album, If Only You Were Lonely, debuted at No. 3 on the billboard charts and sold just under 500,000 records, their time was already ticking.

The band was unhappy with how their record label, Victory Records, handled the release of their second album after the record label urged fans to go into record stores the day of the release and hide all of the other new releases.

Choosing integrity over record sales, the band decided to sue Victory for their actions that reflected poorly on the band.

Things only got worse when in 2007, the band’s guitarist, Casey Calvert, died following an accidental overdose of prescribed drugs.

Their third release in 2008, Fragile Future, came and went with little promotion, little sales and a departure of sound from their first two albums.

Things started to look up in 2009 when the band signed to Wind-Up Records, a major record label and on June 1, the band released its fourth album, Skeletons.

Skeletons kind of picks up where Fragile Future left off, with a softer popier sound than their first two albums. Calvert, who provided the heavier vocals on the first two albums, has not been replaced and lead singer JT Woodruff said the band never will add another member to replace him.

Hawthorne Heights is not a great band, never have been and probably never will be. They don’t bring anything new to the table. Lyrically, they are probably below average and truthfully speaking, they sound like a lot of other punk/alternative bands that are out right now.

So why do I keep buying their albums? They are undeniably catchy. And to be honest, I pay a little bit more of attention to them just because they are from Ohio.

With that said, Skeletons is actually a decent album, especially from a band who has been to hell and back in the past two to three years.

Most of the songs deal with the loss of Calvert, but never get too depressing. There is some experimentation on tracks like “Drive,” which almost brings in a techno vibe, and “Gravestones” which is almost like an acoustic folk song.

While the album probably won’t blow anyone away, it’s a nice stepping stone for the band who seems like they are trying to mature and get past all the hard times they’ve seen in the past few years.


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