Central Vic’s own Tyson Hodges Trio released their self-titled debut album last month, an instrumental album hard to define with just one genre. Tyson Hodges himself is an extremely accomplished guitarist, and backed with seasoned musicians Josh DeAraugo on drums and Bradley Bradford on bass the trio have created an impressive album with touches of everything from rock to psychedelia.
The album is hard-hitting from the get-go, launching into ‘The Palace of Sin’ with a dark, rock/blusey riff. The double-tracked, electric lead flows with smooth riffs while the bass doesn’t just sit at the back, it leads in its own rhythmic way. The solo seems like it could’ve been more rhythmic to fit the track, but impressive nonetheless. Much like most of the album, this song would be incredible to see live. Part of the beauty of these tracks is lost by being unable to see the artist create this wicked sound.
The Oversoul is an epic, 3-part piece beginning with resonating acoustic guitars, ringing hypnotically as a heavier lead brings it to a rock tempo. The acoustic guitars are beautiful here, and suddenly rocking notes slap you into Part II. Repeated funky notes overlayed in octaves keep you moving, notes soar before moving to Part III. A sweet smooth intro comes, the drums joining perfectly. Hendrix-like waves of notes bounce from the track.
‘Elevation’ opens Side 2, each ‘verse’ drives and builds until the screaming electric notes peak. The bass track is damn funky here, and the drumming is undoubtedly a highlight. ‘Indigo’ is a personal favourite of the album, featuring a folky guitar into, warm and welcoming. The track is well-played, sweet to listen to, and the perfect length. ‘Starchild’ starts groovily, with a Hoodoo Guru-like intro, getting heavier as it goes before returning to an alt-country rock feel to close. ‘Sunday Drive’ is a drum-heavy, start-stop song, while ‘Oxycontinential’ (a great play on words, I’ll add) is high, ringing, and almost droney. The album’s final track, ‘Lara’s Song’, draws from rock, country, blues, and Celtic music. By the third section, notes blend together, making you want to move. The solo that follows is incredible, the notes that weave down the neck make a solid ending for the release
The album is very impressive, particularly as a debut. It crosses genres, blending them seamlessly. Yet it takes commitment to listen to; you have to want to listen to lengthy instrumentals. This album would also translate spectacularly to the stage; the visuals of watching the band actually create the music would contribute to the experience. Very much for fans of Hendrix and Zeppelin, or those that enjoy instrumental prog rock.
Reviewed by Thom Devereux