We're becoming islands one by one

by The Sleeping Years

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1.
I fear the hearts of men are failing on these shores; We’ve been chasing tails and trapping shadows. The whisper lanes and hoods, the conjuring of smoke. We’re setting fire to sleepy towns now. I smelt blood and I heard the drumming rise, My quarter, coiled up and baying. The crackling of wildfires, the breathing figures into life. We have enemies amongst us. Through it all I gave my hand And through it all these days will end. The battles for your heart carry on, I draw the light and hush the sounds. You’ll never need to know. Old songs and folk tales dying, I lift my hands and fake a mirror for your flames. We set out on christened ships, bowing to the shores, Fathoms of lost souls below us, But I cup this fleet and blow its sails to the end And this world comes apart in my hands.
2.
This pulse that made you fight upstream Sends the eels to mass and the salmon leap. And on this rock you set your home, The light that leaks from pitch and stone. The floods that came took cattle and earth, A broken wake where the currents turn. And you saw the town when the river froze, The swans at war and the foreign boats. The water pools and your shadow grows long To the tall tales your brothers spun. In the house, lost, where the light grows dim, I leave you now as your journey begins. Borne along by an autumn moon, He’s bearing north, heading for the mouth. The river birds and the falling leaves Open their wings and our heaven’s won. His arms cut through a darkened Bann, In his pale clothes, ghosting along. He took his silences from there And his hands hold the river back.
3.
From the harbour hill to where the crescent curls, The black water swell, the turning of the world. Strung lights and drunken sounds Glimmer at the edges of your town. We were hiding for so long With everyone else all trying to hold on But that time has gone now – It’s you and me against the… (It’s a) bleak light to figure in, Our hands thrown up against the wind Like mottled masts and lightning bolts, We’ll call up storms to take us far from home. We’ve been running for so long From jaded hearts and broken love All waiting for the ground to open up, Well it’s you and me against the… They’re down on us again, Trying to keep us apart but we’ll refuse to give in For this is it; something we can win – This time. And they’re frozen in this light while they’re marking time For their fears shape them all until they’re rooted to the ground. We’ve been trying for so long Just to be ourselves, to be left alone, Well if everyone is getting slow Then it’s you and me against the world.
4.
There’s no falling back, It’s a precision drive for common goals and hollow drones With the sound of motion in our skulls. I try to stop. I try to stop, Try to find myself in something But it just flickers out. I remember shapes, I remember… We compass like old hands, Our communication sounds through knocks and needling, This jostling for ground, But movement must be kept for as long as we are charged We’ll never fear the shape of things to come. I am built to cope; Everything that I am has been honed, And I never dream, I just close my eyes and static comes.
5.
You take that turning. You’ve got to wake for the Lord in the morning, With the shadow of the church spire falling On the shoulders and heels of the fearing. The wind banks low, Draws a furrow through the fields by the wish stone And while the constellations pin us down, One death makes all the dogs howl. And they say they know you, that they grew with you, But you don’t know them at all. This wreath of brambles Banked by catechisms and kerbstones, We’ve got herons stalking the burns But the devil’s cast out of our homes. I carve my name, My name singing of new lands and shelter, My name set upon for colour, My name dreamt by others. White clouds rolling, black earth open. You’ve got to wait for the call.
6.
Broken Homes 05:28
Leaving my home shores and north winds, Brittle maps of my ribs bowing. They carried blood down to my hand Where they struck you dumb, made you a believer. No matter how hard you try – they fail to listen to you – Though they swear you’re free to rise – but they’ve placed their hands upon you – And time and time again – they’re grouping to welcome you – But you’re alone with everyone. This reach of crooked lines and hollows, The ground falling under my fingertips. I draw napes and brows and scars, I walk on water. And all the rivers sing: ‘all I am is of here’. If you feel you’re on your own Your world’s in rhymes that you can’t understand at al And you’re left to broken homes Holding out for one more chance to come along. And the songs that filled the house – were lifted to the rooftops. Of the glory in their hearts – and the gathering of the crowd. The water washed my mouth – and the language that I spoke – Was snaked in riddles, roped in code.
7.
Close your eyes, we’ll sound the way through old souls all rapt in wonder For the arc of them, a stitch of vein, reflecting on each other. Communicating down the line with hints and curves appearing On measured ground, in plotted stars, they’re spilling out. The city choirs will sing ‘til dawn, their songs like cables wailing. A twitch and jump, a rush of blood, all resonating outwards. I dream of clocks, I dream of clones sounding out together, The click of hearts and the hours lost as I breathe on. Radios with callers breaking through for I don’t know how long now. This babbling, this slip of tongues all fused into one. This is the sound of dislocating, This is the sound of distance overtaking And all my words and thoughts are failing Above the sound of something being swamped. These are the sounds my heart was cupped to catch before I sleep. These are the sounds that muscle in around you while you speak.
8.
Human Blues 04:35
So poor moon, With a cursed hand I rent my days, Lost in the woods, The curls and throats I never made. Blackened boughs and starlight shivering, Cobalt blues to crown my little home. Head for shore, Got whins to raze, got clouds to spoil. For crow-miles I roll. You stopped staring skywards years ago. I stank of madness in your cities, Sleeping foes and towers in my way. The clamber starts – The push and pull, the marking out with hearts in mouths, Those precious traits you’re holding fast, You keep on holding fast.
9.
Little girl, it’s time to go, They’re waiting for you now, Down by the boat to take you to the north, Tie up your hair, colour your nails, And take his name, You light a fire to warm the house again, Draw village wives and churchmen to your gate, Your accent standing you apart. On the hour, dressed for rain, She comes down from the house To feathers and broken blades and on, To the centre of her world Where all the birds wheel around her for all time. The years pass, Your children have gone, you’re rooted to the land, You tie up your hair, got winter in your hands, You’re breaking bread to call them out. And on the hour, dressed for rain, The light retreating to the house, The figures that wander there Are waiting to open up their arms, All her family around her for all time.
10.
Islands 06:06
I write to you now so you’ll know my fate, We’ve had no news for seven days. These disappearances we made Take hold. Our photographs begin to cloud, The colour running from my mouth, The light I reflect filters through And burns out. My breath frosting in the cold, The radios all turned to snow And my words thicken in my throat And hang mute. All the lights trip out, all the echoes slow, I hold my breath, I turn to stone, To stay invisible for long Takes thought. It’s a sleight of hand, it’s a trick of light To fool yourself, to close your eyes To all the drifting for tonight You’ll be gone. We’re becoming islands one by one, we’ve got distances to cross. We’ve been losing ground for all this time and we never said a word. We’re becoming islands one by one, we’ve got oceans now between us. We’ve been losing ground for all this time and we never said a word.

about

Drowned in Sound: 'a record that only Bon Iver's ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ has really rivalled in recent months. 8/10''

BBC: ''beautifully understated... one of Grundle's great strengths is his lyrics'

Rock n Reel: 'An extraordinary introduction to a hugely talented artist... exquisite'

The Word magazine: 'Grundle is emerging as one of our great off-centre songwriters'

Clash magazine: 'Comparisons to Nick Drake and Elliot Smith are inevitable but it is Neil Young who is most often brought to light... very good'

State magazine (Ireland): 'Deeply moving... burns with greater intensity after each listen'

credits

released May 31, 2013

Sleeve design by Pika Pika

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about

The Sleeping Years London, UK

The Sleeping Years is the solo project for Dale Grundle, formerly of the Catchers.
‘We’re becoming Islands One by One’, showcases Dale’s exquisitely crafted, highly personal songs, influenced by the language and culture of Northern Ireland.

Guardian: ‘his voice breaks exquisitely between hope and despair in songs that the acoustic guitar was invented for’
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