He is not the only member of The Parlotones to release solo work – frontman, Kahn Morbee, launched his debut album SALT earlier this year, however, I think that Lost&Found is the furthest any member of The Parlotones has strayed from their signature sound. Whilst the composition of Morbee’s solo work is outside the realm of the commercial Parlotones sound, it’s only normal to seek a similarity between his project and that of the band. In Hodgson’s case, L&F takes a total different course and you wouldn’t be wrong for comparing it to the likes of Frank Turner – I’d even go as far as to say a hint of Damien Rice.
The EP kicks-off with chimes to the tune of “Amazing Grace” and feeds into opening track “Turn Back Time” – a pensive track expressing regret, remorse and inner turmoil. The need for atonement is evident, “If I could rebuild all the bridges that I burnt down, the Great Wall of China would struggle to compare. If I could raise up all the people that I’ve let down, there’d be no room for birds left in the air. If I could take back all the things that I did when I was drunk, the weight would be more than Hercules himself could bear” – the hollow sound, reminiscent of an empty room, resonates well with the reflective lyrics. The extent of his vocal delivery is truly admired towards the end of the song. Hodgson’s vocal contribution to The Parlotones, given that he sings mostly backing vocals, would never have earned him the credit he deserves – his emergence in L&F sees him make a comfortable shift into the limelight and its apparent very early on.
“Faceless Man”, not to be mistaken with that of Creed’s 1999 “Faceless Man”, is undoubtedly my favourite song. The lyrics are raw, brutally honest and expressive of someone who has gone through the trials and tribulations and is now very aware of a greater meaning to life. His desire emanates from coming to terms with life’s struggles, accepting where things have not gone as planned and focusing on turning it all around. “I want love, peace, commitment, I want a healthy mind, body and spirit, I want a life without vices, a life without crisis”.
Whilst I enjoyed the old school melody and catchy hook of title track “Lost&Found”, sadly I thought it lyrically weak. My least favourite and found it more lost than found on this album.
The piano driven “Clocks” comes as a relief, redeeming the preceding track. Its slow tempo suits the theme of watching time tick by and serves as a gentle reminder not to live life vicariously but to make the most of your every moment.
“New Song” is the most notably stand out piece on the album and encompasses a creative collaboration with South African singer/songwriter Tailor. The country-folk intro gives way to lyrics further solidifying the extent of the journey traveled, “The past is the past and what’s done is done and I’m so proud of this person I’ve become”. The sense of optimism and accomplishment is prominent and you can’t help but smile. Tailor has a captivating voice that draws one in; but I found myself slightly frustrated due to the complex instrumental arrangement that drowns the lyrics of her important solo contribution. Nonetheless, her vocals add a nice finishing touch – it’s a catchy tune that will get stuck in your head for a while after.
The EP comes to a close with a really beautiful track, “When I Die”. A song about acceptance, acceptance by someone who is content, satisfied that one day he needs to leave this world and confident that he is heading to a happy place in the next life. He manages to make light of a dire situation. Melodically, its upbeat tune almost juxtaposes the message, but he brings it together quite cleverly and interestingly enough, the combination works out perfectly. You’ll find yourself tapping along to a song about death, leaving your loved ones behind and the transition from this life to the next. Another favourite.
Overall, he uses his songwriting to illustrate how he has changed as a person – from the mistakes he’s made, dealing with inner turmoil and finally tackling the journey to recovery. His poignant lyrics are fiercely honest and there’s no denying that this album was extremely personal.
There’s no obscurity about the theme and although his vocal range is not illustrated as much as I’d have liked to hear – there’s only so much one can embellish in six tracks – but, it’s a six-track EP saying everything Hodgson needed to say for now, “It’s been a hundred days and I’m not the same and I know I still have some distance left to run”. This is a piece of work that has been in the making long before it got penned – he used his travels, his demons and his life experiences, and aptly brought it together in this EP. Ultimately, the strength of Lost&Found is in its story. It’s not background music, it’s the kind of album you’ll put on and listen to because you connect with the narrative.
Visit his website or purchase the album on iTunes…