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Hodson - This Strange World (CD)

Hodson
This Strange World
by Eleni Mouratoglou at 17 July 2004, 9:11 PM

Hodson were formed in 2003 by Paul Hodson, known as the keyboardist of John Parr, Slade, Pete Goalby (Uriah Heep), Hard Rain and, more recently, Bob Catley (Magnum) and Ten. Paul Hodson was also the song-writer and producer of Bob Catley's smashing personal album When Empires Burn. This Strange World is their debut album.
The other musicians are Vince O'Regan, Pulse and Bob Catley's touring guitarist, Josie Vespa, a Bass Institute graduated session bassist and Lynch Radinsky, drummer of Pulse. In a few words, they are a team of virtuosos.
The reason why I start my review enumerating the members' qualifications is that I think they guarantee that this album is, above all, a decent attempt with bright prospects. I will complete my thoughts about this later on.
Paul Hodson's keys naturally undertake the leading part and his voice is mature and brought out with sincerity and genuine passion. This is not surprising; a musician of such gravity and talent and with such a past would not expose lack of competence to the public.
The songs are nice, too. What we have is mainly Melodic Hard Rock compositions, slightly reminding of Magnum, with an obvious epic flavor. Their introductions are also an advantage and together with the way the songs are constructed, they verify the composer's inventiveness, fertile imagination and also his profound education and rich experience.
The atmosphere alternations make This Strange World enjoyable for the listener, who is never left wavering. The melody is strained until the awaited elevation comes upon, in the refrain. The best samples of this wisely chosen style are This Foolish World, Jelunda (in this song Hodson's voice simulates to that of Garry Hughes I think), The Calling, which is quite heavier and Light In The Black.
The sad thing is that there is -almost always- a blemish. In this case the blemish is hard to define, because the positive aspects themselves are ambiguous. Everything seems right. The voice is good, the songs are well made, the musicians are extremely talented. What else could anyone demand? Freshness perhaps. The technique is exaggerated, the solos are excessive and Paul pressures his throat too much.
Maybe it is weird to ask for freshness from people who are not in their first youth any more. It's a pity though. This album could be mentioned as a classic in the future. But, under these circumstances and without underrating its indisputable value, I can only recommend it to people who have already heard much of Hard Rock and now turn to more specialized acoustic experiences.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
This Foolish World
Jelunda
The Calling
My Saviour
English Rose
Shamen Eyes
Soulman
Light In The Black
The Swan
This Foolish World (video clip)
Lineup:
Paul Hodson - Vocals, Keys & Guitars
Vince O'Regan - Guitars
Josie Vespa - Bass
Lynch Radinsky - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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