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Hawthorne Heights
THE SILENCE IN BLACK AND WHITE
(Victory)

"I sleep with one eye open," J.T. Woodruff sings over stop-and-start guitar chug in "Niki FM," a cut from his Ohio-based emo groupís debut. So the reason Hawthorne Heights make such a by-the-numbers racket on The Silence in Black and White isnít a dearth of creative imagination or an abundance of commercial ambition ó theyíre just not getting enough shuteye. The exhaustion of Woodruff and his band mates leads to a predictable formula here: a keening melody or keyboard part for the girls, a gruff vocal yowl for the boys, and lyrics for everyone about "being alive while feeling so dead," with the implication that the ones who donít should. Yet even if Silence offers fewer surprises than an entire season of Joey, Hawthorne Heights use their well-worn tools to build the occasional hard-hitting rock machine. "Silver Bullet" is shiny í80s hair metal in all but name, with dueling guitar mini-solos, nonsense about getting shot through the heart, and plenty of cowbell. And in "The Transition," Woodruff gets some help from guest vocalist Grace Carli, whose breathy tenor provides a much-needed whiff of feminine mystique.

(Hawthorne Heights appear this Tuesday, March 8, at the Roxy, 279 Tremont Street in the Theater District, as part of the Take Action tour with Anberlin, Hopesfall, Melee, and Sugarcult; call 617-931-2000.)

BY MIKAEL WOOD


Issue Date: March 4 - 10, 2005
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