Pale Clouded Yellow

by Until the Bird...

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the debut album


released June 30, 2014

David Hawkins: vocals, guitar, ukulele, piano, Farfisa organ
Thomas Harmsworth: accordion, trombone, euphonium, melodica, vocals
Ruta Vitkauskaite: violin, string arrangements

also featuring:

Nathan Feddo: double bass (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11)
Flora Curzon: violin (tracks 2, 7, 10)
Neil Walsh: viola (tracks 2, 7, 10)
Jasmine Neale: cello (tracks 2, 5, 7, 10)
Owen Hewson: clarinet (tracks 3, 9, 11)
Henry White: percussion (tracks 2, 3, 4, 8)

Recorded and mixed by Henry White at Dental Records Studios, London
Mastered by Tim Rowkins at Hell Yeah!

Artwork by Oliver Smith

All music © Until the Bird 2014
All lyrics © David Hawkins 2014



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Until the Bird... UK

... journey through this fallen world with just glimmerings of a fragmented paradise in space-time that might be lying behind it all ...

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Track Name: Trading in Futures
i work freelance as a bureaucrat
but i write poetry when i'm wearing my other hat
you'd like to know more about that

but you work in the city as an analyst
playing snakes and ladders and taking those calculated risks
trading in futures just like this

but you've booked on a course for the spring
come on tell me everything
'Representations of the City in Contemporary Poetics'
so soon you'll be able to say:

'look at the things we've made!
come rest beneath the laurel shade'

but poetry could never bridge the gap
that yawns between us now
so throw all my thoughts off the top of Canary Wharf

while i try to keep up with the scene
in online avant-garde magazines from America
so much i could share with you

but young lovers so often get it wrong
won't you stay at least till the end of the song?
there's another round of redundancies coming along

please don't cite the time we'd save
against the love we could have made

oh get paper
oh accumulate zeros
Track Name: Nightingales
what's that you hear from the edge of the wood?
so sweet and clear it sounds so good
in the purlieues where the light is slipshod
he sang to you
but you're deaf as a clod

now read the cartouche nailed to the horizon
all those dreams of our youth
everything we relied on
and the bombers fly over like birds in formation
they threaten the peace of our island nation

now the session's timed out
and we have come to doubt all that figurative language
what's it all about?
the cranes at White City portion up the night
annihilating the call of the wild ...

of those nightingales
when you're living in hell why not sing for a spell
like those nightingales
what of the clock?
all is not well

hurry on children
get into shelter
what might finally kill 'em is to know that it's over
but the cello still plays
in the willow's deep shade
when we hear that duet we get carried away
it seems to say

'i will always be singing ...
... singing

all good songs are travelling ones
so sing us something meant to go on
all good songs are there for anyone
so sing us something louder than bombs
sing us something to remember when you're gone ...

like those nightingales
they could be lost
mayday storm-tossed
those nightingales
they could be lost
spinning their tails
somewhere over the sea
somewhere we can't be
Track Name: False Lullaby
that constant whirring hum has not become a problem
tho we don't know where it comes from
and that great Hercules isn't carrying anything
right over our building
and the stealth fighter jets haven't left the base yet
no orders
and the pilot light is dancing like St Elmo's fire
uncanny kids are laughing as the blue flames expire
like a comet dying in your eyes
random violence
swallowing its own tale of lies

can't we call a truce
with such a brutal truth?
you were doing fine
lost in the dreamtime
i would rather die
than sing you a false lullaby
not so great a sacrifice

i could give you the stats on impermanence
but they're fleeting as bats and no more transparent
and the chopper is a static eye untuning the sky
slicing up twilight with spiralling searchlights
while your favourite nameless insert-here species
is not about to go extinct
i promised i'd keep watch
but i swear i don't remember anything

can't we put a stop
to all this loss and chaos?
we can always claim
that it wasn't in our names
how can we survive?
and keep on performing this false lullaby is a pillowcase
of lies
Track Name: Rebel Poetics
oh Umberto show me where you sleep
in a clapped out hovel open to the winds
with a tattered stash of pornography
and the empty bottles that chime through your dreams

oh Umberto nurse me in my sickness
bring me those safe boiled liquids
bring me those fresh deep-lake-caught fishes
promise me those infinite good wishes

oh Umberto where are your wife and child
you say 'right over there is where my best friend died
and i'd do anything now just to get through this night'
we're both waiting for the great rebel poet to arrive
... passing through the Nica skies

you say 'i never raised my hand on her in violence'
you say it again then return to silence
and all that surrounds us is night on the island
in the pines and the palms and the fireflies expiring

oh Umberto let's go back to the library
with its store of all rebel poetry
we can spin the globe
and i'll show you my country
but i'm afraid i could never take you with me
Track Name: 127
fresh out of dreams borrowed t-shirt and jeans if this is sunday
morning you're all it needs to put paid to my plans laid for so long
gone out of the window for the sake of a song you hum under
your breath it cancels my debts and it questions my death it's the
medium we move within the song and the breath a place to begin
life is such a finite thing but you're an infinite representation of being
all these tautologous analogous humans in the news and you
know that means us on the quest for the numinous the rest in
the music a temenos and what have we lost on the journey to love?
i carry you with me like a rabbit's foot purse that lopes down the road just like werehearsed and will revoke any curse

we don't need their sponsorship or the adverts they try to leak into
our sleep it's a private thing so please be discreet with your subtlest
form of mutual anarchy a bold endeavour we haven't got two colours to rub together i hope we can be this way forever i see you everywhere
i know
you'll be there
Track Name: Diamond Vehicle
keep on singing that arid song
from a pair of shrinking lungs
we know who you are and where you're from
but every time we look now another bit's gone
like how you excelled when you were young
in philosophy and music surpassed everyone
but now every commercial that they get you on
is a way to abuse it
can only reduce it

as they bastardize
and they bowdlerize
we can see from your eyes
that something's not right

wouldn't you rather just move away
to a nameless town and live quietly
we don't know the wealth that we have
but all the same it never gives us any peace
the things we should do start to pile up
your piano is stagnant
your guitar's got no guts

so they harvest your ovaries
for a fragment of melody
but nothing can stop this entropy

keep on singing that dying song
on a cadence of oblivion
in praise of the darkness
in spite of the sun
you're fading away
when you
Track Name: Whalewatching
somewhere around here our language came to die
and i'd like to say i love you but i'm too scared to try
and tho we might forget
that endless internet
will save all the things that go missing from our heads
all those things we never really said

there's a road running through our grandparents' living room
the cornerstones of that seaside home will be worn to gravel soon
let erosion do its work
come back to earth
while up in crow's nest we're whalewatching in the West
three whole days and still we've not been blessed

now that archipelago shrinks to an ellipse
all those lost kingdoms dissolve into the mist
but through my wind-stung tears
i see it's still a bumper year
all those pale clouded yellows
blown off course on the whale road
waiting for the gales to mellow
and we live for the tale to tell
so ...
Track Name: Great Migrations
all our skywriting
f a l l i n g l e t t e r s
all our skydiving
f a l l i n g f e a t h e r s
in mutual extinction
all our forevers
the thing that links them
spirit of adventure


to say 'Stop!' to the crane on its great migration
who says 'What?!' to the fellow in the radar station
to kick off at the monarchs in the pine plantation
as they lie in wait through their hibernation

the village looks so small from the air
and we're down there
a plane casts its shadow on the land
like a gesturing hand across exapanses of sand
when you touch back down you will understand
there's no final demands

... to scoff at the whales on the Spring vibration
on an ancient journey to the polar nations
you take a note and they'll add one on
sing along to the fractal song
the sea might echo when they're gone
sing along to the fractal song
Track Name: New Bohemia
oh Rachel you turned into a magic mushroom
that great fruiting body burst up through your spine
and it cast off its spores all across the garden
never had to stop for all those old map lines
and some settled here in me
in wild glowing colours
that could never contain your multitudes
or reflect your sudden illuminations
for instance when your sandwich spoke with the voice of a god

down in Montpellier new bohemia
we skirted the edges of that scene together
in the studios and squats down the road from Stoke's Croft
we could smell Herbert's Bakery working ar hyd y nos
while we jammed and jammed and jammed and jammed
making such strange music
for no other reason than just playing for joy
but before they ask the question:
we could never be lovers
you were a radical vegan performance poet
and i was still a boy
but i'll never regret that summer i spent
rattling round your pocket with all your loose change

Alice Coltrane in the rain
house with no TV
just some shot-away ravers living with you there for free
the grafitti we knew and the murals you drew
all sandblasted away now how do you find your way around?
with a singing bowl and incense
you just follow the sound
up on St Michael's Hill they're shuffling the view
and nothing ever got finished, did it?
nor was it properly begun
but then it could never end
it would always be just fun

unwind the tapes
let them unspool into space
clear away the plates
i won't hold you to this place

for Rachel who turned into a magic mushroom
no pattern of words could ever fix you in time
well you've got a baby now
for sure he's scooped out of stardust
he's got storm clouds and rainbows dancing in his eyes
in a lovely sky boat
drifting through the endless night
Track Name: Pagan Head
come on holy everyone
it's all soul's night
we'll ride the Mari Lywd
round the corner and out of sight
follow its shadow trail
through the afterlight
while that sudden alpenglow
darkens down the sky
Track Name: There's No Music in Money
we could give them the realest of real things
but they wouldn't know what to do with it
'cause they're dealing in stock images
desktop sunsets and shifting units
why hip hop sucked in '96
and why it still does
if that's how you see it

so meet me in Miami when the clubs are closing
we'll go panning for gold down on the strip
or seek out that endless melody
between all the bodies laid out on the beach
because that sort of joy shouldn't cost anything
so keep playing as well as you can ...
for free