In the run up to Hawthorne Heights‘ b-sides collection, ‘Lost Frequencies’, both My Chemical Romance reunited and Creeper returned to the forefront; all reminding us that emo culture is far from dead.
‘Lost Frequencies’ follows 2018’s full-length release of a similar title from the Ohio-native outfit, ‘Bad Frequencies’, and consists of tracks unreleased in its gnarly predecessor, along with some of them being reimagined altogether.
‘Hard To Breathe’ poses a warm, punky welcome to the release that reeks of pop-punk traits, both legendary and overplayed. The slightly distorted guitars of JT Woodruff and Mark McMillon, coupled with Chris Popadak‘s stomping drums, muffle together in a breezy haze that is both generically comforting and tiresome. Granted, ‘Hard To Breathe’ is boppy and peaks in all the right places, but it sets this album up to be a little same-y.
The introduction to ‘Pink Hearts’ introduces a new tone to the effort that once appeared to refrain from experimentation, trickling Owl City-esque synth notes and electronic beats behind the slow words of Woodruff. This track throws up a misty sea spray that coaxes us into believing that this album is more diverse than it actually proves to be.
‘No Surrender’ follows, pummelling back into the pop-punk territory that’s bordering on boring by the second half of this effort. Hawthorne Heights appear to rely too heavily on electric hooks at this point, proving that this album would have probably been received better in the earlier years of this century. They are trying to pump a new lease of life into a stagnating genre.
There are elements of this release that are somewhat charming, as ‘Pet Sematary’ is more of a concept piece than a band trying way too hard to ignite sweaty crowds. The spooky, crunchy elements of the song and Matt Ridenour‘s bass are, however, sadly its only strengths. The verses are monotonous and carry the same spoken tone as the likes of early Blink-182, who were big in the early 2000s for a reason – their evolution – but the same cannot necessarily be said for this quartet.
The album’s conclusion sadly continues to do nothing to excite. ‘Butterflies’ simmers down to create a sense of reflection, but instead falls somewhat flat and has a dull conveyance.
Hawthorne Heights may have a multitude of chart accomplishments under their belts, but this release poses the question of whether ‘Bad Frequencies’ would’ve been more greatly appreciated if left alone.