Travis Hodges is a busy man. He is currently working on four musical projects and I recently sat down with one of them entitled After Hours Cooperative. Apparently the self-titled album After Hours Cooperative he recently released was a complete DIY effort. He plays all the instruments, recorded it himself and then mixed it.
The songs on After Hours Cooperative are ‘70s flavored pop songs that have elements of bands like LCD Soundsystem, David Bowie and a number of other related bands. Hodges has a lot of good things going for him.
First off, I think he has a great voice. It reminded me of Bowie at times and it also has a lot of character. His delivery is almost always nuanced and full of emotion. He has a good sense of when to exaggerate certain words and when to pull back. Another aspect Hodges is exploiting in a good way is the use of fuzz. Fuzz is all over the record and despite recording on marginal gear achieved some commendable tones.
After Hours Cooperative has fun songs to listen to and worthy of playing at almost any occasion. A good majority of the songs are danceable, upbeat and have a good solid groove you could settle into. Take for instance the first rack “Bliss Is Forgetting.” Hodges lays down a steady beat and fuzzy guitars but the biggest reason the song works is the infectious vocals. The chorus especially is undeniable ear candy. He sings “Go. Let Go. Let yourself go, because you know bliss is forgetting.” Oh and don’t miss the supremely badass slide guitar solo that comes out of nowhere.
“Infinitely Mine” is a winner that sounds undeniably like old school Bowie. The guitar riffs have a classic ‘70s crunch to them that covers your speakers in white noise. Arguably the highlight of the album is “The Kids Are All Right.” I thoroughly enjoyed the clean guitars, use of delay and vocals. The verse here is clean and has less fuzz than normal, which left some space for Hodges. Hodges also displays some range with his vocals, which goes a couple of octaves higher than he might feel comfortable with. He sings, “It carries all of us, it carries us through.”
The only thing that was lacking on this record was some production issues. Sometimes the fuzz caused the mix to sound narrow, the snare didn’t cut through and the dynamics could have been controlled better. These and a couple other rather minor production problems were noticeable but didn’t take much from me enjoying the album. After Hours Cooperation seems to be a solid work in progress and I could see good things happening here.
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