After twenty years of relevancy and earning two Gold albums, Hawthorne Heights deserves a victory lap. Their brand of rock can still be heard on any number of emo nights to this day, and rightfully so. They did everything their way, despite all the adversity thrown their way. In 2021, Hawthorne Heights is continuing to do things their own way again in facing themselves, and their demons. After signing a new record deal with Pure Noise, it was a special moment for artists who’d been strapped under shackles for quite some time now.
But for every step forward Hawthorne Heights took in the business world, the music ended up taking an even larger step forward. Their eighth album, The Rain Just Follows, sees the Ohio natives going full-speed ahead even though well-intentioned, a little prematurely. Costing them their mental health, but manifesting their talent in the process of recording. The LP attempts to exude empowerment to the audience through struggle; as if it’s the album we all need during these tough times under a global pandemic. We’ve already heard albums like this, however, not with as resonating and brutally honest music to go with it.
Right off the bat, Hathorne Heights sees it fit to merge angst with stimulation. Their illustrious attempt to present anxiety, “Constant Dread”, reaches an apex when Counterparts vocalist Brendan Murphy enters the fold. The whole collaboration seems like a strong contender at finding the airwaves again, effortlessly. The title track is stellar and reminiscent of Hawthorne Heights’s long passion for curating raw energy through heartwarming melodies.
“We want to create the best songs that are accurate depictions of our lives and connect to other people through our songs,” Woodruff says. “I hope this record helps people understand that others out there are thinking like them–and thinking about them. Everyone gets poured on in life; we just want to provide an umbrella.”
Tonally, the record seems to find its footing-bouncing around between heavy elements and melodic vocals. Even a sprinkle of pop-punk invades the forefront of the album (“Tired and Alone”, “Palm Canyon” and “Seafoam”). Many of these stylistic choices boomerang off of each other with nuance. Their energy is combative, almost as if they have just come back from war. It’s everything an empowerment album should be: raw, passionate, and emotional. It’s the members finally breaking free from unhealthy relationships. More importantly, their sentiments are genuine.
Fortunately, passion and fervor rear its face multiple times on The Rain Just Follows. Kind of like lunar phases. Hawthorne Heights walks a fine line between emanating a melancholy message and triumphantly rehashing the spirit of their past works. And rarely does it ever miss the mark.