Reaching New Heights From the Heartland

Hawthorne Heights
“Midwesterners: The Hits”
Victory Records
www.hawthorneheights.com

Hawthorne Heights – the resilient Ohio “emo” quartet – is set to release (November 9, 2010) an ambitious compilation of hits, b-sides, and rarities.  This disc “Midwesterners: The Hits” serves as the perfect introduction to band that can bring lush powerful pop as easily as they can unleash the “emo.”

Not an expert on the band, it must be noted that, the listener has to tolerate the shouting, snarling vocals that actually detract from the song. Think of these wails as mini-audio-speed bumps. The screaming – hence the “emo” in quotes – is the only thing about this collection that detracts from the energy and excitement this music creates.

“Life on Standby” features a solid arrangement – seamless instrumentals – and vocals that are clear and engaging. At certain parts the JT Woodruff’s vocals are buried under this screeching affection. Later in the song the howler is delegated to backing vocals and is far less intrusive. The interjections almost sound humorous.

One of the interesting elements of this disc is how we can actually chart the maturity (musical and personal) of the band who – after only six years together – already has some scars worthy of older and more traveled bands.

With “Midwesterners: The Hits” we get a quartet of musicians who have grown up together and grown up within the music. The lyrics become more universally accessible. The term universally accessible sounds more pretentious than it really is. While their earlier music is enjoyable – the subject matter of some of the songs (and the execution of the lyrics) was specifically aimed at one (very young) target.

As they grow as songwriters – the demographic that can relate to their music also grows. This is what will contribute to their long-term success. They are growing up together – they are growing up with their fans. The kids who buy records by the kids known as Hawthorne Heights will likely not outgrow the band. They will age together and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

Standout Tracks

Ohio is for Lovers
Come Back Home
Silver Bullet (Acoustic)

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