There’s something beyond powerful about a person who can put some of the hardest feelings and experiences into words. Someone who doesn’t sugar coat loss, or pain, or having to let someone go, because often it’s one of the hardest things you can do. Music that raw seems rare these days. It doesn’t get the attention it deserves and songs with an angry spin on sour relationships, or cliché happy endings, are a dime a dozen. Although I love some classic angry pop punk or Taylor Swift-esque tunes, there’s something wonderfully cathartic about Hodera’s Besides EP.
New Jersey-based Hodera hooks you in the first track, “For the Best”. The song captures your ear in a way that oddly resembles ripples on the water that the cover art depicts, but as the chorus comes around it the water picks up in ferocity, and then calms again. The mellow folk-rock tone of vocalist Matthew Smith wraps you within the comfort of a warm jacket on a cold autumn day. I’m not being dramatic when I say that I got a hold of this EP on a cold, rainy Monday while on the train from Philadelphia back into the suburbs. It just felt right.
Lyrically, “If You Want Me To” is my favorite track on the EP. Falling in and out of love with someone is terrifying. Utterly terrifying. Putting that much trust and faith in someone takes a lot, and having those feelings go unreciprocated or having another person rescind them is hard. “If You Want Me To” compares love lost to that of an addiction with temptations lurking at every corner, and the urge to call always there. It seamlessly covers the fact that, while beautiful and strong and amazing, love is also loss and learning to cope and regrettable drunk phone calls and self-sacrifice. At the end of the day, if feelings go stale, you have to learn how to let a significant other go for both of you to move on. It’s a beautifully put together and lyrically amazing track.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, (my worn out but important soapbox) we need to pay more attention to our mental health care today. Our suicide completion rate in the states is too high, and I cannot seem to stress that enough. One thing that is often brushed off as a quick comment of thoughts and condolences is how exactly friends and family cope. “Hey Ana” is the track that explores that a bit. Released earlier this year to benefit The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during September’s prevention week, the track tells the narrative of a friend who lost someone and the struggle that can come with survivor’s guilt and mourning.
Dropping November 16th via Take This To Heart Records, Hodera’s newest EP will surely make its way into your heart. It makes you think and it makes you feel. Besides is hands down one of the most raw and heart-wrenching collections I’ve heard to date, but it’s beautifully done.