Dutch artist Paul van Geldrop has masterminded a solo project that he calls The Listener’s Job. The album No Vacancies is his 2011 debut release. Mixed and mastered by Ton Oortgiesen and adorned with artwork by Bart van Geldrop, this exquisitely creative 5-song album is rife with haunting melodies and a wonderfully clear sound. Paul van Geldrop performs each song on his own and is a master of the piano, guitar, bass and vocals, as well as being the composer and lyricist. Among these accomplishments, van Geldrop also does film scores and theater productions.
Clearly we have an artist who is well-rounded and experienced, and No Vacancies is nothing short of a work of art. “Midnight Prayer” is the opening track, and it carries a dramatic flair and catchy hook. The quality of sound is absolutely fantastic and the elegant piano work makes this piece more than just a song. It transforms it into a living entity with the capacity to touch real human feelings. The gravity of the lyrics takes them to a whole new level. There is an intensity to this track that is undeniable, and the gentle, haunting melody is the perfect balance to the dark and desperate lyrics.
“I Can See Paris” is a graceful piece with light piano playing that makes this track one of the more melancholy offerings on the album. Paul van Geldrop’s vocals are deliberate and rich, the lyrics are thoughtful and full of intelligent content, and this is a perfect example of living art as conveyed through music. “Nowhere Left To Run” has a quicker tempo and a contagious rhythm. Cheerful by comparison, this piece has a slightly Caribbean feel and the beat will have listeners swaying in their seats.
“Eulogy” carries a theatric flair, and as with each of the preceding pieces, this one cannot rightfully be wedged into a restricted genre and termed “alternative” or “classic.” It just is. It’s that simple. The staccato vocal delivery is offset beautifully by the chorus and the drumbeat is hauntingly eerie. The closing offering is “Flying In The Air” and it is perhaps the most captivating song on the album. The lyrics tell a story and they are written with deep thought and intellect. The accompanying piano work is both despairing and hopeful, lending this piece a depth that van Geldrop should take pride in.
No Vacancies is not your average album and attempting to categorize it into a specific genre would be a foolish endeavor. The Listener’s Job, as Paul van Geldrop titles his solo project, is more than just music that can be categorized as something specific. It is art imitating life, or maybe life imitating art. It is creative and full of emotion and grace. The talent that van Geldrop harbors with regards to the performance, arrangement, composition and writing is fantastic. The sound quality is absolutely wonderful throughout as well, and the only complaint listeners will have of No Vacancies is that is entirely too short. We want more.
Reviewed by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)