Los Angeles author and DIY indie music composer, Brad Geiger, has released the album “Tom Rawling’s Old Ladies Peep Show” via the Rock Music Society. The recording is inspired by Brad’s fourth book – An Encyclopedia Of Time Traveling Criminals – and features, as song titles, the names of people that are ancestors of the main individuals who are the subjects of that work. There are artists whose power lies in singularity. Perhaps it’s just because we are drawn to the rare, enchanted with the pull of unique things. Whichever the case, Brad Geiger has echoed much farther than one might expect.
Instrumental music might be a beleaguered genre but this album proves that it is still able to cry far and wide. At the basis of this strength lies the ability to explore places and ideas that other bands, limited to structures of lead and rhythm, verse and chorus, are maybe unable or unwilling to reach.
The arrangements, though leaning more towards retro driven synth sounds on “Tom Rawling’s Old Ladies Peep Show”, work amazingly well. There isn’t a moment on the album which suggests that the Brad Geiger has no solid direction.
The textures are intriguing and despite carrying the overall ‘serious’ sound of the album, the songs sound mostly upliftingly positive, each in their own way. The layers of bass, keyboards and drums are energetic and dynamic in most cases as the tunes are mainly upbeat.
In some instances the voicing of the synths is evocative of a singer sans the lyrics. Particularly on tracks such as “Samantha O’Reilly Rawling”, “Rebecca Holt Smith” and “Kelsey Cohen Powell”. Geiger even places a foot into the Dubstep zone on “Alicia Poole O’Reilly”.
My personal favorites include melodic and the bass dominated “Kelsey Cohen Powell” and “Peggy Smith Gallagher”. When there’s no vocals artists usually feel compelled to turn up the volume and go for an epic sound. Brad Geiger succeeds by keeping to the formula but simplifying it by kicking much of the unnecessarily repetitive and overlong, overwhelming instrumental pyrotechnics out of his compositions.
The thunderous explosions and gradual build ups are built in fairly symphonic manner. The songs generally feature driven rhythmic harmonies overlaid with reverberating synths that gradually built into walls of sound.
Between this rise and fall are various echoing single note riffs that give the tracks a satisfyingly melodic aura. There’s very little distortion and the songs all feel very layered, each instrument working on top of one another in a distinct way. This does not get in the way of the momentum of the material though.
The most memorable moments of the album are the climaxes of the songs which frequently cross over into high energy territory by virtue of their sheer busyness. The best example of this is “Angela Meaney O’Brein” where the metallic pounding riffs are joined by the reverberating rhythms to form a brilliantly bombastic beat. Brad Geiger is trying to send out a message with his music, and to me, that message comes through loud and clear, despite the lack of words. That in and of itself is masterful.
Books by Bradley C. Geiger are available worldwide through major retailers.