Hospital Ships began as a bedroom recording project for Lawrence, Kansas’s Jordan Geiger. Over the course of four years, two albums and stints with multiple respected bands, like Minus Story (singing, songwriting,) and Shearwater (trumpet, keys,) Geiger molded Hospital Ships into a densely packed sonic experience, bringing to life the cloistered sounds of a mind bursting with ideas at work alone in the bedroom.
With Destruction in Yr Soul, he’s thrown open that bedroom door, inviting in a full band. The result is a collection of songs that, while sonically more open, still wrestle with themes both private and universal. From a desire to see the world end to the contemplation of loss, Destruction in Yr Soul plays in tones ranging from garage rock aggression to light, almost whimsical folk.
A tension between those styles is at the foundation of Destruction in Yr Soul, which can be summed up in the question, “What if Bill Fay were a little known musician in the Midwest in 2013?” Centerpiece “Lost Folk Song” illustrates the concept well, beginning with Geiger’s soft tenor over a gently picked acoustic guitar and adding layers over the course of eight minutes before climaxing with the loud refrain, “She is gone, gone, gone/And how will we go on?” Elsewhere, a dispossessed rock prevails, as on the driving, fuzzy and slightly psychedelic “Joan of Arc.” But it is late-comer “Servants” that perhaps captures the ethos of the album best in its funky bass line, swinging melody and explosive chorus.
Peppered with the dark visions of Townes Van Zandt, the biting lyricism of Damien Jurado, the apocalyptic dread of Efrim Manuck, and the guitar antics of Ty Segall, Destruction in Yr Soul’s disparate influences manage to sound complementary. Freed by Hospital Ships’ newly appointed members to narrow his focus, Geiger has crafted his third album into something dark, yet soaring. If the apocalyptic wishes expressed in this album ever do come true, Hospital Ships will go out fighting. File under: Rural noise rock. Fuzzy gospel for Situationists. Epic psych-folk.
Destruction in Yr Soul will be available on June 18th via the Graveface Records and Curiosities imprint.