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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Teddy Geiger

Underage Thinking

Review by Gary Hill

How many of you are really concerned about the state of pop music these days and the lack of real talent on the airwaves? If your hand is in the air, I'm guessing you haven't heard Teddy Geiger. While Geiger is about as hot as a supernova right now, he's proof that people with talent can still make it occasionally. This guy's music is without question pop, but it's got a lot of meat and hearkens back to the days of the killer pop music of the 70's and bands like Steely Dan and Bread. Add in healthy doses of The Beatles, Jellyfish and The Dave Matthews band and you might have a good idea of where this disc sits. This one is probably going to be the strongest pop album to be released this year - if you are talking stuff that makes it to the top of the charts. That's how good this is. Geiger's EP was strong, but this album shows that it was no fluke. He's a young artist who is extremely talented. If he can stick to his musical guns and keep control of his sound he should have a long career.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
These Walls
Feeling at first like a 1970's piano based rocker, this one changes up a bit with the introduction of the guitar sounds. Then it drops to a bouncing piano ballad approach that really reminds me a lot of Jellyfish. This song shows both how much Geiger has already matured as a songwriter and the fact that he has a really good grasp on pop music writing with integrity. It drops later to a Beatles-like interlude. The heavier, triumphant textured climax is pretty incredible, too. Then Geiger drops it way back to a reprise of the earlier themes. The final segments, though are more energized as they crank it back out to carry forward. This cut truly represents a new musical side to Geiger. I can't imagine a better disc opener than this one.
For You I Will (Confidence)
This time Geiger turns his attention to a song that we've already heard on the original EP. This is a great balladic anthem type number with some cool changes and a potent arrangement. It always holds up very well. 
Night Air
This number is a bouncy piano based pop rock cut. Again Geiger's pop rock sensibilities are spot on, and the chorus on this one is exceptionally powerful. This one turns later through some rather challenging and complex twists and turns and reiterations. The interesting thing is that it never ceases to feel accessible, even though there is actually a lot of meat in the composition. That's truly a monument to Geiger's skill as a songwriter. I have to say that this is one of my favorite cuts on the CD.
Thinking Underage
A mellower piece this one has both folk and jazz elements in its mix. When it powers up to the chorus I hear a bit of Bread's "Guitar Man" in the mix. Coming from me, that's high praise as the musical texture and emotion of that piece have always blown me away. It drops to almost acapella later, then bounces back up the earlier mix. The little guitar fills on this one are a great touch. Yes, this is pop music, but it doesn't get much better than this. It's another of my favorites here.
Look Where We Are Now
Another song that first showed up on Geiger's EP, This one starts based on a piano ballad type of format, but turns into a pretty hard rocking pop cut. This drops back later to the mellower and moves back upward. It's yet another strong piece on a disc that doesn't have any kind of shortage of potent material.
Air Dry
This one has a lot of energy and enough interesting changes and surprises to keep it from getting boring. The vocal performance here and the guitar based song structures are both top notch here. It's another of the highlights of the disc.
Seven Days Without You
I have to say that if there is one cut that's weak on this disc (and I don't really think there is) it would be this one. The thing is, the chorus and the potent arrangement on it (with some definite Beatles elements) is quite strong. I'm just not blown away by the ballad-like verse. It gets pretty intense in the later segments, though, with the arrangement turning very lush. The amazing thing is, this one is really the weak point of this disc, and on a lot of other albums it would be the highlight. That's how strong this release is.
Try Too Hard
This is another that was also on the EP. I don't hear that much variant on this rendition, so for consistency's sake I'll reprint that write-up here. This comes in bouncy with an acoustic guitar - and feels a lot like the folk oriented songsters of the 1970's. Geiger's vocal performance gives it more of a John Mayer or even Dave Matthews approach. This one is catchy and rather understated, but very cool. The bridge has an intriguing texture - feeling almost a bit like a jazz trio sound. Geiger also adds in some cool guitar fills - they aren't big or flashy, but they add a lot of flavor and show his understanding of how to create a complete arrangement rather than just take the simple road.
A Million Years
Another that was on the EP, this is a bouncy Dave Matthews sort of jam with a bit of Bruce Hornsby thrown in for good measure. I love the breakdown in the middle of this with its rather jazzy texture. This one is another definite winner.
Possibilities
As this piece comes in it almost has a country feel to it, mostly due to the slide guitar soaring over the top. It shifts to another high-energy jam as it cuts into the song proper, though. This one features some tasty guitar riffs and solid classic rock texture while still maintaining its modern pop motif. I also love the funky bridge that reminds me a bit of Edie Brickell and New Bohemians' debut disc.
Gentlemen
With "Gentlemen" Geiger brings in a more intimate mellow folk rock sort of approach. That sound carries forward for a while, then the track is powered up with a classic rock mode for a while and begins alternating between the two musical themes. It definitely doesn't disappoint and shows more musical integrity from Geiger. It drops to an intricate piano melody to eventually end.
Love Is A Marathon
Geiger closes it out with another track that appeared on his EP. It provides a nice cool down and a more intimate look at the artist. The acoustic guitar based balladic number seems to be less of a group performance and more just Geiger himself. That's a nice way to end the disc.
 
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