When Lawrence, Kansas-based Jordan Geiger (Minus Story, Shearwater) started recording under the name Hospital Ships, it was little more than a bedroom recording project. Nearly 5 years later, it’s hard to believe the band started from such humble beginnings. Since it’s founding, Hospital Ships has evolved into a four-piece band and their latest album, Destruction In Yr Soul, is a lush and intricately crafted work with moments that occasionally beg to mind the biggest moments of tracks by artists like The Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, or Death Cab For Cutie. In other words, they’ve come a long way from Geiger’s bedroom.
Indeed, Destruction In Yr Soul opens with the slow-burning, rafter-reaching groove “Come Back To Life.” A soft, steady rhythm sets the tone for sparkling guitar riffs and Geiger’s brittle lilt as he intones, “I raise up my voice into the night. It’s surely not yours, yet somehow not mine. Yeah, we are alive.” It’s a BIG, cathartic jam that’d sound perfect in an outdoor stadium surrounded by a huge crowd.
It’s followed by the busted-out and clattering “Joan of Arc.” Here, the main beat is pushed out past the red alongside a ringing guitar riff to buoy a straight-forward hook and flowing melody. The rhythm builds gradually leading to a clicking, clattering, pounding conclusion as Geiger chants, “I am the one.” Meanwhile, the album’s first single, “If It Speaks,” is a thoughtfully textured jam with a sparkling ambiance, a pulsing rhythm, and a fiery groove. Bright tones and driving percussion open the way before snarling, reverb-covered guitars bleed to the surface nearly (but not quite) overwhelming the entire tune.
The rest of the album is just as intricate and layered as those first three songs. “Desolation Waltz” is a crooked, gritty ballad with a ringing ambiance that rises like a puff of dirty smoke. Only the first verse of “Lost Folk Song” could be considered stripped down. Although the tune begins with little more than a bright guitar riff and Geiger’s vocals, additional instrumentation slowly joins the composition as the melody grows with each passing verse.
Fiery yet comforting, Destruction In Yr Soul pairs well with Kasey’s recipe for Corn and Jalapeño Slaw with Harissa-Dusted Giant Shrimp. Like the recipe, it’s honest, beautifully textured and thoughtfully prepared. An album like this will always find a welcome home in my collection.
Destruction In Yr Soul is available via Graveface Records. Also, don’t forget to stop by the Kitchen to read Kasey’s recipe for Corn and Jalapeño Slaw with Harissa-Dusted Giant Shrimp.