Haunting Ground

by Elbury

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about

In June 2016, the band spent eight days in the studio recording their 2017 debut LP, Haunting Ground. This full-length work builds on two previous EPs - Report on the Night (2013) and Demasquerade (2015). The emphasis, from the outset, was on variety of textures, moods and weights. Arrangements were adapted on the fly to build in space and to allow diverse instrumental parts to be worked in, including the glockenspiel, the melodica, the honky-tonk piano and the Animoog iPad synth.

The album deals with themes of nostalgia and obsessive reflection on the past. How do we think about our past achievements and failings and how does this shape us? Self-improvement, self-defeat, self-censorship and the little voices inside our heads.

Lead single, Past Life Memories, layers rich three-part harmonies over ambient guitars, building to a rolling folk-rock chorus. The song imagines a chance encounter with an old school-friend. “Hey, how are you these days?”. The questions and comparisons that will inevitably arise, and the possibility of ducking down a laneway and avoiding the situation altogether. Later tracks evoke familiar suburban scenes - lazy Sunday afternoons while baking smells waft over, delving deep into family history and hardship, some summertime rain...

And, underneath it all, the hometown, the haunting ground - where the memories were made and the mind was cast.

Spend enough time living in the past and you will set up camp in one of two places: yearning for glory days or regretting your failings. Maybe spend a little time in each… So, pay a visit to an old house. Wear a blindfold and fill your mind with old times. Let the memories build until they’re ringing in your head, like sirens. Then step inside. Right now I'm empty... but with the smallest nudge, perfume in the air, I'm floored again. Straight back down the rabbit hole - I disappear completely.

credits

released May 1, 2017

All songs by Elbury, which is Edward Buckridge, Michael Luck, Tam Hutchison and Luke Mulhare.

Produced by Tristan Hoogland.

Recorded at Alchemix Recording Studio and Hunting Ground Studios.

Mastered by William Bowden (King Willy Sound).

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Elbury Brisbane, Australia

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Track Name: Past Life Memories
Hey hey how are you these days?
Aimless, disarrayed, helpless, sober?
Hey did you stay the same?
Did life forge on leave lines weathered in?

Through the midday haze
Memories of our cubby-building days
We were running dogs
We never thought time would lead us on our separate ways.

Hey hey how are you these days?
Wrapped up warm and heart still soaring?
Hey did you stay the same?
Show up suddenly, light and comforting?

I will meet you soon
For daytime drinking, playing lazy pool.
Drifting on from school,
Young lovers find…

Finding out the rules.

Pass you in the street
I make the foreign choice
To keep my eyes on my feet
And stay submerged in the noise.
Did you decide on the same
Or pause and grasp for a name
Or fail to know me at all?

Pass you in the street
I make the foreign choice
To keep my eyes on my feet
And stay submerged in the noise.
Did you decide on the same
Or pause and grasp for a name
Or fail to know me at all?
Track Name: Aromas
Me and my brother, a day like any other
We stretch, lounge and moan.
The heat from the oven fills up the kitchen
With a smell that stirs our bones.

Oh, where do they go
Details fade, only aromas remain
In my mind.

Me and my sister, brother, father, mother we'd
Gather 'round summer time
Sugar and spice scents warm like togetherness
Feeling, take in warm air and wine.

Oh, where do they go
Details fade, only aromas remain
In my mind.

Oh and it slips up on you
Quiet-like.
You fall down a rabbit hole,
Dig around back there
Until the memory’s whole.
Old rooms, comfort food,
There's something about perfume
It strikes a chord of when
We were back then.

Years later, life is a roundabout
People arriving and then they're checking out.
To me, always, kerosene in the air
Is the smell of you leaving.

The Christmas beetle slowly saunters in again
On a sultry Saturday evening.
Campfire burns to the morning and
Camphor laurel greets us.

Oh, where do they go
Details fade, only aromas remain
In my mind.

Oh and it slips up on you
Quiet-like.
You fall down a rabbit hole,
Dig around back there
Until the memory’s whole.
Old rooms, comfort food,
There's something about perfume
It strikes a chord of when
We were back then.
Track Name: Like Sirens
Like sirens at night
Like a child crying, a fight,
Or breaking glass.
The second when the war starts,
The moment when the lights go dark.

Slight creaking, when you're all alone.
The house can seem to breathe and the walls moan.
Voices on the wind; you let in
Fear, and like a wild rose it
Rambles and chokes you.

There are sounds, liable
To slip into your ear,
Cultivate an ancient fear
In a dark and primal
Corner of your mind,
These tones...
Will echo around
Behind your eyes
Where worry's allowed
Take hold
Will echo around like sirens.

Like violence, in real life,
Screaming civil strife. A call,
To arms in a barroom brawl.
All you hear is
Meat-thwack-thud, a gasp
You're asked but you can't even recall
What started it all.

Like sirens at night
Like a child crying, a fight,
Or breaking glass.
The second when the war starts,
The moment when the lights go dark.

There are sounds, liable
To slip into your ear,
Cultivate an ancient fear
In a dark and primal
Corner of your mind,
These tones...
Will echo around
Behind your eyes
Where worry's allowed
Take hold
Will echo around like sirens.
Track Name: Red-faced, Revision
Caught out, called out,
You see me being, not deliberate or mean,
Just misbehaving in a minor key.
It's nothing to shout about.
Cast a sharp look in my
Direction as I fly.

I don't look back
Inside my head, I'm boiling
Indignation must give way to red-faced shame.
When I realise
I was wrong all along, so I rewrite it.

That guy was all over the road
How was I supposed to know?
With just the work of a mere moment,
My conscience clears.

I was voicing poison, you overheard
Just enough for a stain to fix there.
An unfiltered view is the last thing
I'd ever want to give to you.

I churn, I churn inside;
I taste sour milk and black bile.
I'm not, I'm not alright with this
So rewrite it and write it down...

I was making jokes
How was I supposed to know?
With just the work of a mere moment,
My conscience clears.
Track Name: High Tide
High tide on Friday night.
From the river-side path,
The middle of the water
Seems higher than the side.
Bulge with the high tide,
Like the crown of the road.

Late spring low water mark.
Reveals a clotted mud.
Coloured to match the rings
Around the footings of the bridge.
Dark pea-soup tinged.
Starts to stink in the sun.

Listless and I’m lazy, I
I'm lulled by warmer weather these days.
Winter started wilting and dark July
Bloomed on the vine, became November.

Some summertime rain
Dampen the dust down.
For little more than a morning, cast the world
In blinding gleam.
All the old cars seem
Shiny and new.

High tide on Friday night.
From the river-side path,
The middle of the water
Seems higher than the side.
Bulge with the high tide,
Like the crown of the road.

Listless and I’m lazy, I
I'm lulled by warmer weather these days.
Winter started wilting and dark July
Bloomed on the vine, became November.
Track Name: War Nostalgia
Homesick, lonely.

I knew a man
Made a sparrow stew for his clan.
A mattress on the floor
For three sixty-five and maybe more.

A temporary widow who's heart never knew.
A story never talked about until a cousin grew.

Swing-that-beat, roll up your sleeves
Throw some pops on the floor and lets dance

Ella Fitzgerald said, it don't mean thing
(If it don't got that swing).
A jitter bug or two and they knew they had a chance
(At romance)

Homesick, lonely
Taken over by nostalgia
Child grows quickly
Presence of an absent father
Letters home read
Of a time when romance bloomed

Call-to-arms and it changed
With adventure in there future, it was a gas.
Child-at-foot, she longs
For her man to return, from the fray.
Track Name: Empty-headed
When all that's in there is furious chatter
Round and round I dwell on things that don't matter.
Unused retorts, in reserve, sharp verbal violence.
I won’t utter a word but you can be sure I think about it.

Me at my charming and quick-witted best
Fictitious existence going on inside my head.
Incisive lines, razor-sharp timing, inflection
Through twenty-five run-throughs, honed to perfection.

Today I'll be tied up a lot of the time in thinking.
Wrapped up in reverie, busy being critical.
I've got an afternoon planned, full of reflection.
Oh oh oh second-best-guessing.

So sick of wasting my time
With this grime
And I wonder whether you guys
Keep all of this inside.
So try to filter the noise,
Find a silent mind
Oh, now I'm empty

Even the daydreams weigh me down - in this scene, we wow the crowd,
3D and stereo sound.. Don't want to shake this.
But these dreams take up whole days,
Mind wanders everywhere
Behind my stare.

So sick of wasting my time
With this grime
And I wonder whether you guys
Keep all of this inside.
So try to filter the noise,
Find a silent mind
Oh, now I'm empty
Track Name: Chaplin
All my dreams these days are silent movies.
Every time I shout out
A title card will appear
A detuned piano, hear.

Try to find a way to communicate somehow.
Heavy lines to indicate a frown, these days
It takes a vaudeville extreme
For you to catch my meaning.

Learned rules in film school.
Script exaggeration to balance limitations
That I know too well
It's me...

Can I live my life in this way?
Every second sixteen frames are displayed.
Slice and multiply with a triple-blade -
Degrading replay.

Narrate the scene, wash emotion clean away,
With silver nitrate.
Render every thought a trite passage on the screen.
At least you'll know me, that way...

Learned rules in film school.
Script exaggeration to balance limitations
That I know too well
Still I'm crashing through the scene

I don't know what it means, I can't decode these
Bleak, chromatic scenes.
The hero's always gone, and the villain is me.
A tragic farce - lighten up the mood.
A pancake mask is the best I can do.
Track Name: Old Roads
Walk down an old road,
Take in the buildings along both sides
Bring a sad, sweet memory to mind.
Chase it down, the better on your own now.
Do the same thing all around your home town.

Plan a visit to an old house.
Strongly steeped in young extremes.
Take a blindfold, fill your mind
With old times, when the living was worse and better.
Take a deep breath and step inside
And throw your eyes wide.

Will you feel better
When memories faded, resurge?
There's a risk in living like this.
Every visit back there fades a little bit
Of that golden time.

Go through that shoebox, dust it off.
In no time at all
You'll be wrapped up warm again,
Certain in the past.

Look up my number, maybe.
Wonder what I'm doing lately
Old friends live here with you.
Where the weather is always bright and you
You're always right.

Will you feel better
When memories faded, resurge?
There's a risk in living like this.
Every visit back there fades a little bit
Of that golden time.

Oh, hallowed ground!
Made that way by the passing of the years.
This day cellared underground
Maybe coming back around, a future haunting ground.
Faded memories keep us sound,
So recall it as you want.
Track Name: Messy Bun
I'm a-waking, eyes open now. I see you.
I'm smitten, all teeth and gums, all the better to charm you.
No complications.
In those days, the only thing stood in the way was me...
I'm stealing constant glances.
Details, details, to set aside and live by.
Those Jesus sandals on your feet.
A messy bun, you're smiling sweetly. I disappear completely.

Like before, I'll become just what you wanted.
I will bend, change again, you'll like it.
Then, when you are no longer able to tolerate somebody so pliable, we'll let go.

I'm stretching out through languid days with
nothing at all on my mind.
Education, in its final phase, and I'm waning.
Try to concentrate while blushing thoughts seize accommodation in various locations.
I'm stealing constant glances.
Details, details, to set aside and live by.
Those Jesus sandals on your feet.
A messy bun, you're smiling sweetly. I disappear completely.

Like before, I'll become just what you wanted.
I will bend, change again, you'll like it.
Then, when you are no longer able to tolerate somebody so pliable, we'll let go.

It's not shame, no.
It’s more a feeling that I've gotta be more than myself to be in this game.
One small fear - I'll say something wrong, a slip of the tongue and you'll disappear.