Jordan Geiger (AKA Hospital Ships) has created a seemingly minimalist. meditative output with The Past Is Not A Flood. Minimalist, that is, until the we the listeners realize just how much is actually going on beneath the main piano or synths that are the foundations for this six-song record. Moving along at a pace best described as “drifting,” the songs bring us washes of guitars, drums, percussion and other sounds which seem to subtly appear before floating off into the ether.
Geiger delves deep into his mind with contemplative, cerebral lyrics, many of which seem to point to emotional instability. But this contemplation is blissful making inner turmoil seem almost comforting. The record leads off with the sound of a Victorian Age piano offset by other strange electronic sounds on “You And I.” The wafting haze of the song’s instruments are complimented by Geiger’s troubled vocal inflections which often sound like a cross between Neil Young and Built To Spill singer Doug Martsch.
There is more to each song here than initially meets the ear. Progressions of synth and piano often reveal arrangements within arrangements. “All In Time” is an obvious example with it dense layers of instruments and melodies happening simultaneously. The acoustic piano intro of “Little Flower” leaves one half expecting to hear Coldplay’s Chris Martin coming in on vocals. But we are treated to something as good (and perhaps better) and definitely less predictable in the warble of Geiger in one of the record’s brighter vocal moments. Smiths fans will appreciate the sudden switching from an electronic sound to an unexpected melancholy acoustic guitar ending on “Oh My Light.”
Hospital Ships take acoustic and electronic sounds and blend them together to create music which will likely appeal to people in both of those musical camps. Jordan Geiger half speaks, half sings lyrical content that is perfect reflection for rainy days and periods when we may be feeling a dose of gloom. To accomplish this and remain appealing rather than bothersome and annoying is a feat Hospital Ships pulls off well. This is not to say there are not some bright moments within these songs. It’s just that the underlying theme here seems to be the reality of sadness. Sometimes it feels good to hurt. It does indeed with The Past Is Not A Flood.
Top Tracks: You And I, Little Flower
Hospital Ships – The Past Is Not A Flood CD/Graveface Records/6 Tracks