Ohio natives, Hawthorne Heights, have their latest record out this week. Bad Frequencies is the band’s first full length album since 2013’s Zero and comes almost three years after Hurt, the final part of their EP trilogy. The band earned their title and place on emo playlists in the early 2000s with the one two punch of The Silence in Black and White, their debut, and If Only You Were Lonely, their sophomore release. Since then the band has had a turbulent ride while still putting out great releases. As a huge fan of the band I was eager to hear what they would bring to listeners on this latest record.
Bad Frequencies opens with In Gloom, an atmospheric opener at first with lush guitar and key arrangements twisting together. Soft vocals soon join the echoing mix. Ferocious guitars soon disturb the peace and we’re straight into a pounding punk song. Yearning pre-choruses give way to huge choruses with killer hooks, all the while the lyrics speak of being tired of travelling and longing for some normality. It’s a powerful opener that opens the record up on a positive note.
Pink Hearts, the records first single, comes next and keeps the momentum of the album going. It’s a huge track which seems to pull on various parts of their older sounds while looking forward to how the band sounds now. The chorus is once again catchy and exuberant. The use of the word “Skeletons” probably isn’t a reference to the bands 2010 album but I pretend it is anyway.
Skipping forward to The Perfect Way to Fall Apart we get another irresistible chorus that just makes you want to chant and bounce to the crushing drums. It’s one of the first points that the album shows its darker side with screamed vocals and bittersweet lyrics overtop of heavy guitars. Its an absolute must listen to for anyone who wants to check out the album.
The darker side of the record is also explored on tracks like the title track, Bad Frequencies. It starts out calm enough with almost folk chanted vocals before giving way to aggressively screamed vocals that repeat the lyrics overtop of powerful guitars. The whole track is reminiscent of the bands earlier Hate EP.
Push Me Away comes later in the record and follows the more aggressive side of the album with it’s screamed vocals and tense guitars. Everything breaks open in the chorus with the vocals sounding out proudly overtop of big guitars. Everything drops out for the bridge which is just clean guitars and drums with almost spoken vocals overtop before we crash back into another chorus. It’s a killer track that I’m sure will be incredible live.
Pills closes out the record with it’s jangling guitars and bittersweet feeling. It’s a calmer track that still conveys as much as every other track on the record. It closes the record out nicely, growing as it goes and giving the listener an ending that almost reflects on the record.
Bad Frequencies is another solid release from a consistent band. It blends parts of their old sounds with new elements, giving the record its own identity while letting it sit alongside other records in their catalogue. The songs are all perfected with the lyrics and melodies sounding oh so great throughout. The instrumentation compliments the songs perfectly from the quieter moments on Push Me Away’s bridge to the angrier, louder parts of songs like Bad Frequencies. It’s a record I can’t recommend enough. The band blend punk, hardcore and pop punk into the perfect package that contains the extremes of all the genres without compromise.
Bad Frequencies comes out on April 27th and the band are touring the US right now.