Game Music, Reviews

Of Mustaches and Men: Stephen Geering’s Original Album, Inner Speak (Review)

July 29, 2008 | | 4 Comments Share thison Facebook Of Mustaches and Men: Stephen Geering’s Original Album, Inner Speak (Review)on Twitter

What do Dungeons and Dragons, Ninja Turtles, and game music have in common? Exactly. Composer Stephen Geering. While you may not have heard his name, he has worked on the Ninja Turtles and Dungeons and Dragons animated series as well as the Lost in Blue and Dance Dance Revolution game franchises, making him one of the nerdiest guys I’ve ever heard of. Oh, and he sports a cool mustache that is on par with Nobuo Uematsu.

It turns out he’s not only an awesome guy, but he also has an incredible voice with a knack for songwriting and creating emotionally-charged music. His debut album as a singer and songwriter, Inner Speak, was just released online in digital format, and if you’re into songs, I highly recommend checking this one out.

Read the full review and learn to love the ‘stache after the jump.

So, what’s here? There’s a mix of serious and playful songs. Easy listening, ballads, and some stuff that borders on 80s rock. Nothing here disappoints, and each song offers something new if you’re willing to keep an open mind.

“How High is the Man?” starts things off with a funky bass, snapping percussion, and the opening lyrics, “Crazy crow what do ya’ know? How much harder can the cold wind blow?” The chorus has been stuck in my head for a week. It’s insanely catchy and a perfect starter to the album. A few tracks later, “Foregone Conclusions” injects some humor in the form of a jazzy piece with silly lyrics. Geering’s vocal range is impressive, and the sound of his voice resembles that of Sting (one of my favorite artists) if you can believe it. The only complaint here would be the unconvincing saxophone samples, but I know first-hand that brass is hard to do without the real thing.

“Flow Down the River” starts with tribal percussion and some guitars, immediately reminding me of Geering’s picturesque score for the Lost in Blue games. It has that 80s rock edge I mentioned earlier with flanged guitars, but the highlight is the memorable chorus with beautiful guitar arpeggios and Geering’s powerful voice. Taking a break, “Downtown Station” is a melancholy track with a lounge feel that tells the tale of what seems to be a homeless person. It’s an interesting story, and the music perfectly conveys the emotional content of the lyrics. “I’m Full” is a rather angsty track, which contrasts with the light nature of the rest of the album.

The last track I want to mention is “The Sculptor of Soweto,” which is a fun piano and rhythmic percussion piece with whimsical lyrics. It actually reminds me of Cat Stevens, another one of my favorite musicians. As with many of the other tracks on Inner Speak, Geering manages to create catchy bridges between verses in his songs, and this track is no exception.

I could honestly write something about every track on this album, but I don’t want to spoil everything. I highly recommend checking this one out, and if you want to hear some samples, you can head over to Stephen Geering’s website for a generous collection of clips. The album is currently available on iTunes and Amazon MP3s. I’m definitely looking forward to what Geering has in store for the future.

So, who are song of your favorite songwriters? Would you like to see more of them involved with the gaming industry? I know I would!

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