In 2005, anybody can afford to make a record. But you can't buy ideas. Cleveland's This New Dawn and Pilots and Passengers are short on ideas, but they can proficiently imitate the same three songs endlessly regurgitated by every other screamo and faux hardcore band.
This New Dawn plays by-the-numbers hard emo with an occasional keyboard zap. "I'd Say We're Rebuilding" starts with tortured singer Joseph Angerstien claiming that he's bleeding profusely and crouched in a corner; when you learn that he's since escaped to a recording studio, it's hard not to frown a little. Pilots and Passengers also loudly bellyache about their personal trauma -- "Elaine" sets a new standard for abusing the term "melodic hardcore" in the process: The breakdown-scream-repeat approach is measurably less hardcore than a cowbell. Having feelings doesn't mean you have something to say.