Within post-hardcore, there is a thin line between being good and being really really bad. Hawthorne Heights walks this line, only playing with sincerity in their candy vocals and not quite digging deep enough with their screams. A lot of the success of post-hardcore relies on the emotion of a scream; anything less than heartfelt can sound like artificial garbage. The Silence of Black and White wants to do well, and with as much heart as they are willing to give, Hawthorne Heights sure tries.
On “Blue Burns Orange,” JT Woodruff emits with sugary intensity, “I’ve been waiting so long to hold you in my arms/embrace forever my sweet girl.” The pop quality is especially intense here, and I can just visualize the underage suburban-emo girls hearting and swooning with every word out of Woodruff’s mouth. He wants you to love him, he wants you to cry, but he and the rest of Hawthorne Heights just can’t seem to bring enough to the table to convince a girl to stay. On the Lloyd Dobbler-influenced “Niki FM,” the echo effect on Woodruff’s vocals as he scatters the words “the silence of black and white” cuts deeper into the band’s credibility, sounding and feeling cheap.
Why Hawthorne Heights have employed three guitars is beyond me; it seems neither necessary nor effective. The layers of their sound don’t go deep enough to need this many instruments, and it’s hard to hear all of them anyway. One thing I will give this Dayton, Ohio-based band is an A for effort. Beneath their lightly pasted-on lyrics is a hint of heart. They may be emotionally immature, but give Hawthorne Heights a few years to sour and all of the crying and heart-breaking may mean something the next time around.