Hawthorne Heights – Fragile Futures


Album

Fragile Futures

Label

Victory Records

Year

2008

Genre

Emo

For Fans Of

Silverstein/ Senses Fail/ Coheed & Cambria

Summary

Another number in the pop punk pack.

Rating

40 / 100

‘Fragile Futures’ is the latest offering from Hawthorne Heights – the follow up to 2006’s smash hit ‘If Only You Were Lonely’. And if they hadn’t set such high standards, this album may have been half decent. But alas it is not.  

For those who don’t know, Hawthorne Heights rose to fame back in 2004 with the release of ‘The Silence in Black and White’. With massive airplay on MTV these dudes looked like they were the next big thing for screamo/post hardcore. But then tragedy struck when vocalist/guitarist Casey Calvert died unexpectedly from an overdose of prescription meds.  Also it was around this time that Hawthorne Heights were in a contractual feud with their label Victory Records.  

Fast forward to 2008 and the guys have released Fragile Futures, a mildly disappointing album for fans and dabblers alike. Gone are the anguished screams and first-rate songwriting that once made the band distinguishable.  The album opens up with “The Business Of Paper Stars” which immediately showcases the change of pace and direction the band has taken. The songs continue, melodic and everything you could want from a pop song. J.T. Woodruffs vocal work is lonely, whiney and reminiscent of early emo bands like Saves The Day. There’s even a bit of early Blink 182 in there. Not nearly as good though.  

Tracks six and seven are on ode to Casey. “Desperation” and “Four Become One” and they show just how the band has experienced true sorrow unlike other daddy-doesn’t-love-me bands. The heartfelt lyrics are a darker territory for the band. It just didn’t seem right though.

‘Fragile Futures’ needed to have some sort of screaming, some sort of ROAR or fuck, life or something.  I was waiting for something like POW! climax time. But nothing. And its not like they wasn’t room for it, oh there was plenty of room it just never really seemed to happen.       

One song worth a mention and it’s the closer, “Come Back Home (Reprise)”. With borrowed lyrics "This Is Who We Are" from previous hit If Only You Were Lonely, it resembles their old style most on this album.  Soft and pretty. With a delicate harmony it’s a good choice for the closer.  

Conclusion

Although the guys have had a pretty rough year and overcome their grief to bring together another album, maybe they should have taken a little longer to recover as a band instead of cashing in. ‘Fragile Futures’ is a change that is an unexpected one and some fans will embrace it and others will think its re-goddamn-diculous, indistinguishable from the thousands of other pop/emo bands out there. 

Tracklisting

  1. The Business Of Paper Stars
  2. Rescue Me
  3. Until The Judgement Day
  4. Somewhere in Between
  5. Sugar In The Engine
  6. Desperation
  7. Four Become One
  8. 321
  9. Disaster
  10. Let Go Of Everything You Know
  11. Corps Of Corpses
  12. Come Back Home

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