No Vacancies comes as the solo venture of the Dutch musician Paul van Geldrop. But instead of using his own name he has decided to release his album under the name The Listener’s Job. Because van Geldrop is the sole creator of the project, he is responsible for every section of the process, including writing the lyrics as well as composing the music; he was also the one to record each instrument within the album.
“Midnight Prayer” introduces a touch of spirituality as well as a religious aspect into the group of songs. In that some people may be deterred by a topic such as that, it is a fairly risky song to place first on an album, especially since this is his debut release. He references subjects such as “Mother of mercy,” and sings, “I begged the world to stop; it ain’t easy to be your God. Let us pray.” He relies heavily upon his skills on the piano to fuel the melodies within his songs. “I Can See Paris” is composed of a poignant melody made up of both a piano and stringed instruments.
Having electronic characteristics thrown into it, “Nowhere Left To Run” is peppier and more upbeat than the other songs. As the third song on the release it serves as a nice intermission from the two slower songs used to introduce the album. He soon reverts back to the same leisurely pace with the next two songs, however. This is not a bad thing, though, since the songs are all good and it seems that he is comfortable with a more relaxed approach.
“Eulogy” is comprised of a simple melody repeated throughout the song. The title represents walking away from a certain detrimental period in his life. He sings about locking the door, the moments that were never shared, and the anger that this person instilled within him and everyone else that has been affected. “Flying In The Air” tells of the various people he has met throughout life. First, he tells of a man with a throwaway face and disposable heart. Then, he sings of a girl with a “recycling” smile and changeable laugh. He explains how he is unable to trust these people. Finally, he tells of an honest boy who teaches him that “in his world, falling is like flying through the air.” He has a distinct way of telling stories that make you want to understand and distinguish the extent of their meaning. And he writes his lyrics in a way that makes them unable to be understood in a single pass. Fortunately, these are songs that you will want to listen to more than once. Paul van Geldrop seems to return to a single topic within the lyrics of both of these final songs, and that is the subject of lies. In “Eulogy” he sings, “How can you wonder what I feel when even lies can be real?” Similarly, in “Flying In The Air” he describes how the lies and false demeanors people hold have ultimately made them untrustworthy in his eyes.
By creating a release that has just five songs on it, van Geldrop is able to give listeners a good sampling of his potential as an artist. The EP is relatively low key from beginning to end. Although each song still varies in tempo, he continues to retain a calm composure. And given that he is from the Netherlands, his Dutch accent is recognizable, but luckily it is not thick enough to keep us English speaking folk from understanding what is being said or to lose out on any portion of the album.
Review by Alec Cunningham
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)