No Vacancies is the first album by Paul van Geldrop’s solo project, The Listener’s Job. The five songs that make up the EP are a great example of Progressive Rock. The Listener’s Job makes music that can be compared to bands such as Yes and Marillion.
Some people might think that 5 songs aren’t enough to give you an adequate picture of an artist’s sound, but in the case of The Listener’s Job, it is. The songs all are piano based, which should come as no surprise to anyone that is familiar with Paul’s music. He started out taking keyboard lessons for seven years and has spent time as a keyboardist in a few bands.
Paul doesn’t want to be pigeon holed into any particular genre though. However, his music does seem to fit well into a few genres; progressive and new age are the two that are most prominent.
“Midnight Prayer” opens the EP. The melody surrounds and engulfs you. Paul’s vocals are haunting and almost larger then life. The song is dramatic and also soothing, though a careful listen to the lyrics will prove that the song is anything but soothing. The lyrics “I know my soul my soul will suffer in hell. What is left of this empty shell. Don’t you remember hours of sin? To remind you what has been.” illustrate this point.
The song “I Can See Paris” is probably one of the most relaxing you’ll hear. Piano and violin sounds fill your ears and Paul seems to be whispering the lyrics into you ear. You might be tempted to call this a lullaby, because it is so slow and calming, but like most of the songs, there’s something deeper lurking in the lyrics. “Here we have the answer to the long lost prayer.”
There’s a sense of helplessness and frustration in these songs. “Nowhere Left To Run” opens with “They say this life is just a dream. I’d give anything to wake.”
No Vacancies is an EP that is hauntingly beautiful. Paul van Geldrop has a voice that could soothe even the most savage beast. The songs are all beautiful, but that music hides an inner turmoil. These songs are not songs to bring you smiles. They may soothe you, but if you truly listen, you’ll know that they are much more than that.
The title’s alone suggest that these songs aren’t pretty little ditties. Surely you can’t expect happiness from “Eulogy?” The melody of this song is probably the most melancholy.
One of the surprising things about these songs is their length. 4 out of 5 of them clock in at under 4 minutes. They have the length of a pop song, yet their subject matter suggests that they should be epic. Paul has a way with songwriting that is concise and to the point, and though short, none of the songs feel like they are leaving the listener hanging.
Paul has worked on film scores as well as theatrical productions. That is something you can definitely see in the EP. The melodies continue telling a story even when Paul isn’t singing.
What the five tracks of No Vacancies show us all is that beauty can be found everywhere, even in sadness and pain. Whether Paul continues to record under the name The Listener’s Job or just as himself, it will be the listener’s job to hunt down his music. It will be interesting to see if there is a change in the mood of his songs in the future. For now, we can be content with the moody tunes from on No Vacancies.
Review by Andrea Guy
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)