Studio musician Paul van Geldrop decided to take a break from the studio grind to record his latest solo release, No Vacancies. The five-song LP showcases his talent as a vocalist, keyboardist and lyricist. An emotional album, the majority of the tracks deal with loss, something everyone can relate to.
“Midnight Prayer” kicks off No Vacancies with steady percussion and van Geldrop’s striking vocals. Later, an electric guitar enters while a standout piano interlude comes in mid-track. As van Geldrop’s vocals echo throughout the song his heartbreaking lyrics strike a chord.
“Don’t you remember/ I carry this cross/ To remind me of your loss,” he sings. While he is trying to come to grips with death throughout the track, his faith is evident within his inner dialogue.
“I Can See Paris” follows suit with a slowed piano introduction before van Geldrop’s deep, steady vocals enter. A more positive song, additional string features flush out the track. “Save your sorrow for a day that holds no sin,” he sings. Having found his answer, “I Can See Paris” is an uplifting track that tells listeners to move past their sorrows.
“Nowhere Left to Run” switches gears with edgier vocals and electronic beats. Dreaming of a simpler life, the track’s futuristic sound begs the question of how true this is to the artist. The most produced track on No Vacancies, one wonders why van Geldrop didn’t simply make this a stripped down song if living simpler is truly an accurate sentiment.
Where “Nowhere Left to Run” showcased a futuristic approach, “Eulogy” follows with more ear-grabbing production. Slowed strokes of the piano introduce the track before van Geldrop’s somber vocals enter. As he tries to forgive and forget lost moments, his confusion and anger remains evident throughout the track’s entirety. An instrumental breakdown closes “Eulogy” and has the listener wondering if van Geldrop was able to let the past go.
Album closer “Flying In the Air” continues the morbid storyline with sinister lyrics. With slow strokes of the piano, heartache and loneliness are apparent. Singing of mistrustful people he has come across in life, van Geldrop’s somber lyrics have the listener feel for the character in his story. “I once met a man with a throwaway face . . . But I won’t believe him ’cause he wears a mask/ First chance he gets he’ll stab me in the back.”
Paul van Geldrop’s latest solo release embodies tough topics that many have gone through, but rarely express openly. Painting the story of death, heartbreak, being let down and wishing for a simpler life, he allows the listener to relate. It makes sense that he occasionally scores films and theater productions as many of the tracks are produced with sweeping piano parts, memorable percussion and impressive guitar interludes. While van Geldrop’s No Vacancies doesn’t end on a positive note, sometimes it’s the tracks that showcase pain and suffering that become most memorable. And, for van Geldrop that’s a good thing.
Review by: Annie Reuter
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)