Release Date: Jun 18, 2013
Record label: Graveface Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Pop
In the early days of his Hospital Ships project, Jordan Geiger was the act's sole member, making delightfully spare lo-fi twee pop with almost transparently whispery vocals steering the ship. With third album Destruction in Yr Soul, the lo-fi trappings and solitary construction of his nascent output give way to brightened production and full-band performances without losing any of the insular charm that made the project so warm and approachable to begin with. Geiger's voice has long been compared to Daniel Johnston's nasal croon, and his penchant for ramshackle production owes some influence to early Flaming Lips.
The Lawrence, Kansas, band Hospital Ships devote themselves to an epic, yearning sort of indie rock that feels oddly old-fashioned at the moment: Their role models are the Flaming Lips that stood up and said yeah, the Built to Spill that forgot to carry the zero, the Arcade Fire that forgot all the names they used to know. This sound-- big waves of guitar bearing a small voice gently upward-- works a useful salve for loneliness, but it also sounds majestic ringing out over an open field at an outdoor festival; at its best, it feels timeless. Destruction in Yr Soul, the band's third full-length, aims higher and resonates more deeply than 2011's Lonely Twin: Supplied with rich, cavernous production, Ships bandleader Jordan Geiger manages to stir some of the grand feelings of his idols.
For every band like Sun Angle, who deftly weave the dichotomous sounds of punk and tropical, there are bands like Hospital Ships. Formerly the bedroom project of Kansas’ Jordan Geiger, their incongruous mix of satiny folk-rock and jagged garage rock should, theoretically, flourish. But as Destruction In Yr Soul demonstrates, their balancing act is far too disjointed to be successful.
Bands that site Elliott Smith, Gram Parsons or Townes Van Zandt as influences are popping up everywhere these days, multiplying faster than crabs in a $2 whorehouse. Hospital Ships is no exception. What began as a bedroom music endeavor for Jordan Geiger has finally grown to a full band, albeit with very mixed results. While his band is a good one, with all the added instruments used to fill out the broader scope of the songs and darker themes explored, Destruction in Yr Soul should have been a brilliantly boundary pushing record, instead picks up where Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band left off.