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Hawthorne Heights

Hope

Cardboard Empire Records

Four earnest-looking young men have produced a very earnest-sounding album that explores all the usual guy stuff: insecurity, messed up romances, and a world that hates them or at least feels that way. Believing the world hates you is more reassuring than the truth: the world barely knows you exist. So, the best thing to do is pound out some heartfelt rock and roll.

Hawthorne Heights bounces up to the edge of metal, but never crosses over, preferring to stick with downer pop. These guys take life and rock seriously: "Stranded" pours cold water on hope as we hear "I feel a little fire trickling in my chest." But don't get your hopes up, as the response is "Oh Lord, where did I go wrong?" I can't really say, but while he's bemoaning life, I'm grooving to the guitarist. Next I'll recommend "Running in Place," where this mysterious "love feeling" never gets a chance to infect as our singer stands outside someone's window doubling as a prospective Romeo and a creepy stalker guy. You get the idea -- hot guitar work and angst-ridden lyrics make this seven-track collection the sort of thing to listen to when driving fast and wondering why girls won't talk to you. Have patience, and lay off the Axe.

Hawthorne Heights: www.hawthorneheights.com http//www.cardboardempirerecords.com