Published Nov 15, 2018New Jersey-based "sad boys" Hodera are back with EP, Besides; this six-track EP follows two full-lengths albums, in 2015 and 2017, and it's thoughtful and satisfying.
Besides starts strong with "For the Best," a song that is reminiscent of American Football's calm and atmospheric guitar tinkling. It has us on the edge of our seats as it teases with instrumental builds, only to revert back to a ballad. After two-and-a-half minutes, we finally get the release we wanted, as Matthew Smith's vocals build and Scott Tilley's drumming complements Doug Gallo's strong, yet minimalist guitar riffs. This song sets a high bar for the rest of the album.
Hodera continue to deliver tracks rich with self-reflection, as well as themes of love and loss. This EP begins to feel like an obituary, as Smith appears to sing to people who belong to his past. In "Hey Ana," he's mourning a relationship that was never perused. In "Kicking the Dirt," Smith sings to someone who has recently left, whether that be because of death or choice, we aren't sure. He tries to convince himself that he's fine, while internally battling with the existential grief that coincides with missing someone important.
The EP concludes with an acoustic track, "For Heaven's Sake." It feels raw and personal, as Smith sings about his grandpa's passing and a painful email from a fan who found solace in his music. "For Heaven's Sake" feels like a private invitation; much like Julien Baker, Smith is baring his soul while addressing several topics that only seem to be linked by pain.
Besides is heavy, attention-grabbing and beautiful all at once. It's the kind of album that you can hold close to your heart and privately call it yours. (Take This to Heart)