CAROL HODGE, THE singer-songwriter, keyboard player, founder member of Slice of Life, and lead female vocalist with Steve Ignorant’s live performances of Crass songs since The Last Supper tour in 2011, releases her third solo album on 24 September.
The writing and recording of The Crippling Space Between Us took place in the unprecedented context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The album’s themes and lyrical preoccupations reflect the pressures and fears, along with the determination and sense of personal resilience, that so many experienced during those difficult and seemingly endless months.
“I’ve never felt such rage, such grief, such uncertainty,” Hodge explains. “We all like to think we are in control of our own lives, and have a hand in our own destinies, but 2020 pulled the rug out from under us. It has absolutely taught me to accept that there are forces in the world beyond my control. I have dug deep and found the positives. When it seems like there is nothing left, there is hope. Always.”
The first single from the album This was released a few weeks ago, together with an official music video starring Nashville-based dancer Erik Cavanaugh.
The album kicks off with the confident, boisterous sounds of The Moan of a Thousand Years, a soaring power-pop ballad. But this is an assuredly diverse release. Next track Twenty Miles Up is a slower and more reflective number, full of very welcome Cyndi Lauper style vocal flourishes. Melancholy musical textures fill the arrangement of a Curtain To Fall; there’s a mixture of regret and recovery running through Everything Here Is A Joke; and a sadder tone still infuses Best Thing In This Town (which Hodge’s rich vocal timbres just lights up). First single THIS raises tempo (and the sense of defiance), and comes with an irresistible ascendant chorus; while numbers like Saviour Ship, Scream of the Sea and Along For The Ride explore what it means to try to be resilient against what feel like overwhelming odds. Punky thrash, it ain’t. But this is a punk-literate singer-songwriter using the experiences and challenges of the lockdown as inspiration for some edgy, catchy, well-crafted and intelligent work.
Second single from the album So Much For Summertime has now just been released, also backed by an official video.
Carol Hodge is a seven-fingered, piano-pounding, Yorkshire-dwelling Singer-Songwriter. Think Regina Spektor meets Billy Bragg, but with fewer digits and a continuous existential crisis, sandwiched between bitter irony and relentless optimism.
Active as a solo artist since 2016, Carol’s third studio album The Crippling Space Between is now ready for release. Produced by Dave Draper (Jazmin Bean, The Wildhearts, The Professionals), The Crippling Space Between is an unashamed exploration of the emotional rollercoaster that was 2020. Carol flits between musical styles, bridging the gaps with her astute lyricism. A fierce believer in remaining independent, the album will be released on Carol’s own label Midnight Stamp.
Previous albums Savage Purge (2020) and Hold On To That Flame (2018) featured on several Top Album end-of-year lists, and 2020 single Stopped Believing In You received signifiant indie and online radio play, including from BBC Manchester and BBC Bristol. The video for the song Stop Worrying Baby, premiered by Louder Than War, featured Emmerdale star Dominic Brunt.
Carol has collaborated continuously with other artists over the past ten years, and is perhaps best known for her work with Crass founder Steve Ignorant. She took lead vocals on the Last Supper tour in 2011, singing the songs of Crass all over the world, a role which is being reprised in 2021/22. She is the pianist in Steve Ignorant’s Slice Of Life, and has performed across the UK and Europe since 2012. When not dabbling in anarcho-punk, Carol provides live keys and BVs for Texan country rock star Ryan Hamilton (signed to Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records), and makes occasional guest appearances on keys with The Membranes and The Ginger Wildheart Band.
The Crippling Space Between is released on 24 September 2021, and is available for pre-order (in a variety of formats, including several bundles and limited edition vinyl twelve-inches) direct from Carol Hodge’s web shop.