Returning with their first album in five years, Hawthorne Heights continue to evolve from the angst-ridden emo rock they broke through during the mid-2000s. They’ve always been able to turn heads with their nostalgic take, yet on this sixth studio outing, ‘Bad Frequencies’, Hawthorne Heights have delivered a surprisingly upbeat record that feels somehow familiar but also renewed.
Make no mistake, the band’s emo roots live on as the album opens with ‘In Gloom’. The ruminating guitars and sedated lyrics from JT Woodruff have an enthralling effect as he reminisces on the band’s absent time away. As the song builds up to its crashing hooks and chorus, there’s a sense of self-awareness with the lyric “We’re closer to death, we’re getting older / I don’t want to make it on my own”, calling back to their iconic tune ‘Ohio Is for Lovers.’
‘Pink Hearts’ proves there’s something for everyone on this album, with its upbeat, authentic, and summery punk vibes. Just as you think you get what ‘Bad Frequencies’ is all about, we see songs such as ‘Just Another Ghost’ filled with breakdowns that are nothing short of epic. While the title track exemplifies the fine line between Hawthorne Heights‘ more reversed side and the roaring guitars they’re known for. When paired up with other album standouts, ‘Starlighter (Echo, Utah)’ or ‘Straight Down The Line’, you realise HH are more than capable of producing that are on par with their older material.
‘Bad Frequencies’ is an album filled with inevitable callbacks to the band’s glory days. Yet with introspective lyrics, hook-filled guitars and vibrant, cutting production, ‘Bad Frequencies’ has brought a new lease to an old sound.
‘Bad Frequencies’ by Hawthorne Heights is out now on Pure Noise Records.
Words by Sarah Shodipe (@charismaqueen)