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MUSIC REVIEW: CAROL HODGE – The Crippling Space Between

| 3 September 2021 | Reply

Label: Independent

Release Date: July 9, 2021

Rating: 92%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

An odd release shot through my email and I will be honest (just as I was with the person that originally sent the email) I only gave this one a shot because of the artist Carol Hodge’s tie to one of my favorite singer / songwriters Ryan Hamilton.  Having never heard of Hodge I went into this with no expectation and am so glad I did, as this is a great album.  Disc opener “The Moan Of A Thousand Years” kicks things off with crunching guitars, killer vocals and an anthemic feel woven into the songs melody and chorus.  The different textures of the track, as well as the cadence and intensity shifts, give the listener so much to enjoy and look / listen for with each spin.  “Twenty Miles Up” slows us down and helps show us a different side of Hodge as a singer and writer.  While leaning into ballad-like territory, this one is a tune I go back to and find myself singing along to time and time and again.  Her piano playing supports the track is a great feel and sound for the song.  “Everything Here Is A Joke” is a great pop song that marries a great guitar sound with a thumping piano part that swirls perfectly in the mix with Carol’s vocal.  The song builds through the verse and seems to scream out to us as the chorus, which slows things down and lets us all bask in the layered lead and background vocals.  While this one has shade of Hamilton in its DNA, I also pickup some influences from Amanda Palmer.  “Best Thing In This Town” is a great ballad that perfectly combines Hodge’s vocal skills with her amazing piano driven musical parts.  This songs lyrics are treated with proverbial kids gloves and given an emotional delivery that eclipses most others on this disc.  “Saviour Ship” is a playful track led by the piano and soon joined by Carol’s vocals.  While a bit of a left turn sonically from the rest of the disc, it seems to fit perfectly amongst the rest of the songs.  The background vocals tossed into the mix give the track a calm in the storm feeling and embraces the rest of the vocal.  Disc closer “An Eye For An Eye” closes out the disc with another ballad that highlights Carol’s vocals atop a piano and guitar pairing that delivers a different texture that seems to weave other sounds from the previous ten tracks together giving us the perfect book end to the disc full of, as Carol describes them, “pensive and piano-led, and rousing indie rock bangers.”

“Curtain To Fall” is another beautiful piano driven piece that showcases Carol’s vocals and her control over her mid-range, as this one runs up and down slightly from verse to verse and through the chorus.  The lyrics are poignant and perfectly delivered by Hodge while the piano pulls us all along for the ride.  “So Much For Summertime” keeps things light and airy, with a cool musical accompaniment underneath the vocal, especially when the chorus hits.  The lead combined with the background vocals gives this song some punch and depth at the chorus that pulls back but does not dissipate as the second verse rolls through.  “THIS” is another killer pop rock track that gets the foot tapping, your voice singing along, and slips a smile on your face.  The song pulls together the different components that drive other tracks with Hodge performed playful piano bits, smooth percussion and bottom end from the rhythm section, some cool riffs and chords, and of course some lofty and airy vocals that complete the mix.  “Scream Of The Sea” starts off with a vocal and soon an ethereal keyboard enters the sound and helps build the track through the verse and into the chorus, where the rhythm section kicks in and builds out the foundation of the track underneath the keyboard / vocal swirl.  There is something about this one that is addictive without being conforming to a sound or feel.  “Along For The Ride” mirrors many of the other piano driven tracks and helps provide a great place for Hodge to drop a vocal that seems heartfelt and genuine without getting too heavy or overbearing.  This is another example of Carol’s grasp of her craft as a singer / songwriter.  I may not have known much about Carol Hodge going into this, but I have found some older material that hits just as good as this stuff.

Tracklisting: The Moan Of A Thousand Years – Twenty Miles Up – Curtain To Fall – Everything Here Is A Joke – So Much For Summertime – Best Thing In This Town – THIS – Saviour Ship – Scream Of The Sea – Along For The Ride – An Eye For An Eye






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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