Head First Into Solid Ground

by Paul Cathro

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about

written by Paul Cathro and band

Alex Vaatstra - Violin
Paul Mclennan-Kissel - Drums
Theodore Francis - Bass
Henry Francis - Guitar
Paul Cathro - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
and
Louis Smith - Percussion, Pronoun Consultant

recorded by David Craig and Louis Smith at Van Shark Shed Studios on July 27th-28th 2014
overdubs recorded by Paul Cathro, Theodore Francis
and Chris Miller at Liberty Growers in Katikati
mixed by Andrew Straight
mastered by Jonathan Pearce
Produced by Louis Smith & Paul Cathro
with David Craig, Andrew Straight & The Band

Artwork by Sam Caldwell

Enormous gratitude is extended to Independent Records for devoting time and energy to no useful purpose, to Chantal for everything and more, to Bugs and Jess for the space and to the whole snarling pack of musicians and collaborators who, against their better judgement, have allowed this music to happen.


Long, long ago (in 2014) in a galaxy very near at hand (Ravensbourne, Dunedin, New Zealand) Paul Cathro, frontman of alternative psych-pop troubadours Alizarin Lizard, co-frontman of melodic shite-pop upstarts Fat Children and bassist for thoughtful indie-pop darlings Ha The Unclear was preparing to leave Dunedin for the brighter, more terrifying shores of Auckland. Actually 'preparing' might not be the right word.

Not long before the aforementioned northward move was decided upon The Cathro had assembled around him a gaggle of Dunedin's finest musicians
as a performance band, and, as one does, had junked most of his previous material in favour of new songs and arrangements these luminaries had cooked up between them.
Before leaving, these songs must be etched on the school-desk of posterity. Only just before leaving.

So it was that, in the 48 hours prior to his flying north never (frequently) to return, Paul Cathro (guitar, vocals), Theo Francis (bass), Henry Francis (guitar), PMK (drums), Alex Vaatstra (violin), Louis Smith (pronouns) and David Craig (recording engineer, sound wizard, common sense) assembled to carefully and lovingly commit these precious songs to the digital record (and in no way to unceremoniously bash them out at breakneck pace pausing only to congratulate themselves on it somehow all still sounding fine).
[was that where the full stop was meant to go? ah there but for the grace of giving a toss]

The location for these frantic sessions was provided by the fabulous Chantal Van Schaik, the gear by the fabulous David Craig and the ability by lord alone knows..
It was all so fast and so crammed together that not a great amount of actual memory survives from the.. oh let's treat ourselves and say 'ordeal', so alas
description of the recording itself is necessarily brief:

They started with drums and bass, as musicians are wont to do, and overlaid all manner of essential and discarded guitar and vocal tracks, alcohol was burnt as fuel, an incredible fry-up was made, lyrics were written out longhand five times before they figured out the original version had been fine except for just one single bloody word..
but perhaps the most sensible and carefully thought out part of the process was starting tracking the violin at five in the morning, eyes the widest that exhaustion-narrowed eyes can be, ears fuller than a teacup with a shark in it.. at the time it all sounded bloody incredible.
You know what, I still think it does.

So there it was, we had a record, perhaps one of the best any of us had worked on. Shouldn't take too long to .. and to.. and.. but..
overdubs, lost bits, cities moved, more overdubs, mixing, remixing, mastering, remastering.. you know how it is..or, if you don't, that's how it is

but here we are, two years later, with a great record, cool cover art by Sam Caldwell, no real idea how to release it to any of our advantage
but a burning desire to get it heard. Give it a spin, give it a like, give it a share, give it a dollar.. do whatever it is people do down the other end of the headphones.
- Louis Smith, June 2016

credits

released November 22, 2016

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Track Name: Outside The Band Room
sitting listening to the river in the forest
and the rain drips through the roof in the corner
i'm devising a plan to make it through the year
without spending any money
but then out of nowhere on my way to the practice room
i saw you and you looked deeply into my eyes and you said
"there's just no way i'm afraid"

but i spent all my time streaming all of your videos
and i spent no time listening to your music
but i changed my plan from fixing the roof
and now my plan has changed to you
i drop off flowers saying
"come on baby that wrecking ball represents my life"
and when i'm inside i lose all my time on you

sitting drinking my morning coffee
the rain drips down on new sheet metal
i'm devising a plan to make it through next year
Track Name: Telescope
you should have seen it coming
as you claim to be so bright
it was bigger than a sun
much more significant than life
but she couldn't tell you
not in a conscious state of mind
how all these years that start so slowly
well they end so short of time

she's been waiting
for you to turn around and face it
she tells you
she's going to leave this stupid planet
makes claim to a galaxy
that is twenty two light years from you

now she's blowing your brain
she cautioned you again
threw those years out the window
when she took the kids without your name
broke her oath of many colours
made it all black and white
now you stare into the sky
from your lonely place
you're looking through your telescope
and all you see is empty space

she's been waiting
for you to turn around and face it
she tells you
she's going to leave this stupid planet
makes claim to a galaxy
that is twenty two light years from you
Track Name: Ostracised
you watched her walk away
screaming all of the things she'd wanted to say
and you stood
with a frustrated look upon your face
and you thought to yourself
"i think she knows"
so you sit inside somewhat alone
wait for your mother to call your phone
it must have fallen down the side of the couch again
but who cares
you no longer have any friends
you ostracised yourself
the day you slept with someone else

you asked your friends for a favour
but they are her friends too
they hadn't picked you for a player
but well neither had you
so they told her
now she knows
and you sit inside somewhat alone
wait for your mother to call your phone
it must have fallen down the side of the couch again
but who cares
you no longer have any friends
you ostracised yourself
the day you slept with someone else

and it was your longest relationship yet
and you stomped it out like a cigarette
and the whole town took a deep breath
it seems no one will ever forget
you ostracised yourself
the day you slept with someone else
Track Name: Mann Europas
it's eleven hours ago
i'm asleep and i don't know
they've sent a message to my new home
i've borrowed deeply
this life's too easy down the rabbit hole

you need me to pay my loan
but i'm afraid to go home
you'll have to catch me if you can
because i have become
a european man

i can't get out
i'm in too deep
i'm a barely functioning human being

i followed a girl to berlin
because i loved her so

you need me to pay my loan
but i'm afraid to go home
you'll have to catch me if you can
because i have become
a european man
Track Name: Do It Again
you don't want to go home
he doesn't want to either
as he watches you shiver at the thought of it
so he brings up that one from around the block
she'd been sucking on that drink he'd bought
and you just have to walk away
and leave him alone

and we know that you are sick of it

but you knew from the last time
when he said that he'd cheated
but you're calling him a hypocrite
and he just loves to contradict himself

they said he was fine when he went out
he would only talk about it
when he saw someone he liked
that reminded him of you
but sometimes he'd get chatty
maybe flirtatious if he was feeling lucky
and most of the time
they would turn a blind eye
and maybe once or twice
they caught him around the corner
playing catch up with an old friend

and we know that you are sick of it

but you knew from the last time
when he said that he'd cheated
but you're calling him a hypocrite
and he just loves to contradict himself
and this won't be the last time
when he says that he's cheated
but he will never do it again

here comes the night
where you show him
right
you introduce him to phillip
his fists clench up like jelly
and his balls drop

they all turn around and isolate you
but we still don't think you're done with him

because you knew from the last time
when he said that he'd cheated
but you're calling them all hypocrites
and they just love to contradict themselves
and this won't be the last time
when he says that he's cheated
but he will never do it again
she will never do it again
no they won't ever do it again
Track Name: One On a Monday
he watches tv while you're wasting away
filling his head with such ludicrous ideas
but he's alright to stay for
until he tells you what he did with the rest

he saw one on monday
they found her body on tuesday
she was fine at the casino on high street
she's the mother of some of his children
she loves them
she will do anything to keep him happy
so pale, thin and washed up
he took the colour from your face
and now you want to get revenge

so you'll stay out late on wednesday
but he's good enough to stay for
so void, nought and empty
he's good enough to stay for
so drunk, sad and obscene
he's good enough to stay for
though he makes you feel lonely
he's good enough to stay for
and you're good enough to stay for

he saw one on monday
her kids went hungry on tuesday
she must have caught the intercity to nelson
she's the mother of some of his children
she loves them
she'll do anything to keep him happy
and you will do anything to keep him happy

she's always panicking
he's gonna find her now..
Track Name: Solid Ground
you are digging
trying to reach solid ground
you want to get it right this time
meet a girl you really like this time
don't wait around for her to come to you
you have never shown certitude
59 years later and you're sure you really hate her
so you wait 'til you're born again
then you're born again

you are digging
trying to reach solid ground
you want to get it right this time
have children that you like this time
but she has grown sour by the hour
she shows plenty of uncertainty
by your daughter's 21st you are long of the earth
but then you're born again

what's the point in trying and trying and trying
when you never get it right each time

you should be over traveling through the dirt
with your body spread so far apart
what's the point in trying and trying and trying
when you never get it right each time

this colossal life you've tried to lead
has thrown you completely

but you're still digging
trying to reach solid ground
Track Name: From One Human To Another
from one human to another
all this junk is ruining our lives
that baby spider ate it's mother
and we all laughed until we had to cry
it's been a while since i saw straight
went outside or even socialised
i analyse the room around me
and try not to look you in the eye
carnivores
or are we not
sometimes i wonder what we are and why
as i watch you lay down
i hope that you wake up
because tonight might be the night
oh will we ever speak again
and then the morning rolls round
and you flicker your eyelids
and you ladadadidum
oh i think i might have drugged myself dumb
Track Name: Behind The Times
hey what long locks of hair
and they've been dreading since your birth
you skate around all day
and all you think about is her
but when you're back down to earth
and your flat is a mess
you know that life is just fine
but then your stereo broke
and that zeppelin cd got stuck inside

you should have been born in 1974
because your taste is so obscure
and modern music has ruined your life

you emailed all your songs
to try and get with e.m.i
but that girl you thought was wrong
well it turns out she was right
when she said that your songs
were way behind the times
and your hair is a disgrace
and your stereo broke
but that frampton cd just shows you have no taste

you should have been born in 1974
because your taste is so obscure
and modern music has ruined your life
Track Name: Back To Life
we had a night out together once again
and you drank yourself to oblivion
you thought that you were the star of it
but we swept our remarks under the carpet

when he came to he had no memory of you
oh he was gone

he had a girl that liked his messy hair
and she said "who's that tipsy hippie over there?"
they pull him down without blinking an eye
and tell her to stay away from that guy

when he came to he had no memory of you
oh he was gone

you drove your car off a cliff and you died
but then we brought you back to life
you flew your plane into a mountainside
but then we brought you back to life
you went headfirst down the hydroslide
but then we brought you back to life