Geisha Hit Squad, now that sounds like it'd be some sort slutty all girl punk band, right? Not quite. More like a quiet, contemplative, moody and meandering outlet for the songs of Eric Jennings, who sounds like a more flowery Peter Gabriel. Not that he dresses like a flower as Gabriel once did. But who knows…maybe he does when he's home alone just for kicks. Experimenting with Mirrors is the group's CD.
Jeff Clark, Stomp and Stammer, Jan 14, 2014
First and foremost, I see this body of work as a true evolvement from your last. While it still bears some trademark sounds of yours, it is new in groundbreaking ways. The very electronic but melodic opening sets up nicely the next cut featuring your recognizable vocal patterns. (Familiarity is a good thing.) As the CD progresses I became aware of how much bolder your guitar is on here. Bold and confident. I also found a subtle pleasure in what seemed like transcendental transitions from one cut to the next, making this really a continuous flow of art. My favorite is probably “Hurt” at the end because it best combines the emotional power of your vocals with the incisive observations of your writing.
Bill Gregory, review of The Definition of Beauty, Jan 12, 2014
REVIEW “Experimenting with Mirrors” Geisha Hit Squad 2011
REAL ROCKER GIRL
Specializing in European Rock
Leslie J. Bialik
realrockergirl (at) gmail.com
When, by pure luck, I happened to meet Eric Jennings aka Geisha Hit Squad and see him open for my husband’s band at a local place a couple of weeks ago, I was happily surprised and very touched by what I heard. Eric is one of the most genuine, open, and positive people I’ve ever met and his music perfectly reflects his beautiful soul. I think anyone, no matter what musical style they prefer, could find something to identify with and smile to in his self-released LP “Experiment with Mirrors”.
This album is, with a few exceptions, almost completely acoustic, with either or both guitar and piano accompanying Eric’s compelling vocals. The lyrics are very personally revealing, but at the same time, the way he writes those lyrics somehow makes that intimacy no longer scary, so the listener has no trouble relating those feelings to her own life. For example, in “Picture Show”, one line is about wanting “to see how it feels to be anyone but me”. I love the inclusiveness of that line, and it is a good example of how Eric Jennings approaches his songwriting. Somehow he manages to leave a positive feel after most of the songs, inspite of all the introspective revelations.
Along with his considerable songwriting, producing and performing talent, Eric’s vocal skills are also abundant. He has so much depth of tone, and is versatile enough to accurately express every emotion he is singing about. His voice is almost mellifluous, but it still has a touch of edge and individual character that make it completely unique and recognizable. At times he reminded me a bit of Phil Collins, such as in “It’s Not Your Time Now”. At other times, he reminded me a bit of Pete Townshend, as in “Picture Show”. But at all times Eric Jennings sounded only like himself, and he qualifies as true ear candy for me.
The album starts out on a marvelously uplifting note with “Welcome”. The rich layering of the guitars is extremely evocative, and combined with the upbeat rhythms, warm chord voicings and encouraging lyrics, this song almost brings tears of joy to my eyes each time I hear it. It was a fantastic way to be introduced to an album and I was definitely ready to hear the next track.
“It’s Not Your Time Now” explores a much darker theme, both musically and lyrically. Eric again manages to make images explode in the mind with his lyric expression. For example, “she was dancing on the edge of a razor blade...” immediately conjures up visual images, but it also conjures up deep feelings in the gut from the emotional pain he talks about. Eric Jennings is a gifted wordsmith!
“Raleighwood” is the most heavenly-sounding song on this album. It’s mellow, gentle, and warms the soul. Again, the guitar work is so masterfully handled that it seems to fit perfectly with the natural body rhythms. The production on this song, as on the entire album, is excellent! It’s impossible not to feel good when listening to this song. It’s such a naturally flowing composition and it feels comfortable from the first note of the first listen. After it was over, I immediately wanted to hit replay.
“Code Morris” is another introspective number, but the guitar rhythms keep a certain drive to it even though it is basically about the challenging search for the meaning of one’s life. The guitar tone is clean and beautiful, and it complements the sweet vocal harmonies so well. “Chain Song” is about forgiveness and moving on. It is yet another beautiful melody over beautiful guitar tones, with a gentle percussion adding a certain positive feel to the overall effect. “Slow Car Moving” has a sweet, dreamy feel to it, and “Revealed” is extremely powerful with its evocative chord voicings and rhythms.
“Crime Song” is a song about not buying into all the negativity we’re exposed to every day, not believing “in what they say.....they were wrong...”. It has electric guitar on it with some very eery tones that add more darkness to the feel, and there’s a syncopated beat. This is a harder song, and is very appropriate for conveying the darkness we have to deal with in our day-to-day lives.
Eric Jennings is a gifted composer and lyricist. He sings about everyday human frailties, fears and feelings, and also about overcoming adversity and maintaining a positive attitude no matter what comes up. It’s entirely appropriate that he use “Gray Sweater” as his last track of the album. It’s in the minor, uses an almost reggae-like beat, and the harmonies are vaguely reminiscent of Bob Marley. But inspite of the potential to evoke negative feelings, his lyrics acknowledge that in the end, even if relationships and life can and do cause pain, it is still important to share life with others, to love someone, because it does make life more satisfying.
I highly recommend this album for any music lover who enjoys relaxing and listening to beautiful acoustic guitar and piano-driven music performed and sung by a heartful, sincere and talented musician. You really can’t go wrong with Geisha Hit Squad’s “Experimenting with Mirrors”.
Leslie J. Bialik
September 9, 2011