We're becoming islands one by one

by The Sleeping Years

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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'


released May 31, 2013

Sleeve design by Pika Pika


all rights reserved



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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Track Name: Setting Fire to Sleepy Towns
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.
Track Name: The Lockkeeper's Cottage
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.
Track Name: You and Me Against the World
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.
Track Name: The Shape of Things to Come
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.
Track Name: Macosquin, Coleraine
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.
Track Name: Broken Homes
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.
Track Name: Clocks and Clones
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.
Track Name: Human Blues
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.
Track Name: Dressed For Rain
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.
Track Name: Islands
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.

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