Released: 2004, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This is the debut album from keyboard player Paul Hodson (Ten, Hard Rain & Bob Catley) and his eponymous band Hodson. Joining him are Vince O’Regan (Pulse & Bob Catley) on guitar, Lynch Radinsky (Pulse) on drums and Josie Vespa on bass. Hodson himself takes care of both keyboards and lead vocals. As a keyboard player, P. Hodson has worked with John Parr, Slade, Pete Goalby (Uriah Heep), Hard Rain (FKA Magnum) and Bob Catley. He wrote some material and produced Bob Catley’s critically acclaimed album WHEN EMPIRES BURN.
The band biography states that P. Hodson surprised a lot of people when he showed them that he could sing, claiming that his voice sounds a bit like Ronnie James Dio and Graham Bonnet. Apparently, his song writing ability also surprised many. Since I only now became acquainted with P. Hodson, I can’t really say anything about that. As for the other band members, O’Regan has been a member of Bob Catley’s touring band for three years and also has his own band called Pulse. The debut Pulse album did very well in Europe and now they are working on a follow up. Vespa originally hails from Holland but now lives in London. Though her virtuosity and creativeness have been sought out by many studios and live bands throughout Europe, she chose to join Hodson.
The band biography also describes this as melodic hard rock and I agree with that. This is very melodic hard rock with a focus on keyboard, of course. While I don’t think that Hodson sings like Dio or Bonnet, he does have a very powerful voice and a broad vocal range, which fits the music really good. O’Regan contributes with some impressive guitar play both on solos and on rhythm parts. He sounds best when the tempo rises and he gets a bit more aggressive in his play. I would say that Hodson typically British style, like Magnum or Rainbow, since there are similarities in the band’s soundscapes.
P. Hodson produced THIS STRANGE WOLRD on his own and has created a brilliant production/soundscape. The album sounds like really well-played melodic hard rock should sound. I don’t know where or when the album was produced, nor who wrote the songs, but a good guess would be P. Hodson himself was responsible. TSW contains nine tracks and since I only have a promotional copy, I can’t say much about the lyrics. Fortunately, based on the song titles, the lyrics don’t seem to be so much about love and that is a positive thing. I don’t think the world needs another melodic hard rock band with lyrics that are only about love. There is only one minor thing about this strong album and that’s the cover ... what else? Why can’t Frontiers spend some money on attractive covers for their acts?
As a melodic hard rock band, Hodson keeps things speedy and intense. There are no slow ballads or even up-tempo ballads included on the album. This is quality melodic hard rock that really impresses. Of course, it’s always nice when there’s a female in the band, since there are not enough women in the hard music scene today. There aren’t any bad songs on the album and even though I’m not such a big fan of keyboards, I have to surrender to this masterpiece. I can strongly recommend this to every fan of melodic hard rock out there.
In September Hodson plans to go out on the road and I can assure you that you’re going to hear a lot more from this band in the future. They are a brilliant example of how the British music scene is still alive.