From the underground NJ music community comes Montclair based indie rockers, Hodera. United By Birdcalls is Hodera’s first official full length release. Led by Matthew Smith, Hodera has undergone several lineup changes until establishing a consistent collective of musicians both touring and recording. The band takes on an indie-alternative form, with their music embodying characteristics of the classic Midwestern emo blended with a folky tone.
United By Birdcalls narrates the listener through a therapeutic release of emotions. Songs deal with concepts of love and loss, as well as self improvement and regression. “Feel Better” describes an inability to achieve a sense of tranquility. The narrator looks back at what his or her childhood was like and compares it to the current situation the narrator is in. Then, suddenly a wall of sound emerges and Smith sings out, “So why can’t I feel better?” Songs like track 9, “No, I’m Not” relaxes some of the heavy hitting songs, while still maintaining the overall United By Birdcalls theme. One of the most stand out characteristics of this record seems to be Smith’s vocals. His voice has a folky tone to it. When coupled with the exceptional instrumentation, it creates a unique genre that seems to mix Brand New and Mumford & Sons.
Overall, United By Birdcalls is an exceptional record. It keeps the listener engaged with its catchy choruses and excellent instrumentation. The beautiful music that emanates from this record prove Hodera’s worth in the local community, as well as the potential for becoming a popular well known group outside of state lines.