Sink Like A Symphony

by Fred Thomas

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Originally released in 2006, LP version in an edition of 500 copies on Ypsilanti Records and CD version in an edition of 2,000 copies on Corleone Records, both sold out now. These versions of the songs have been remastered for bandcamp release in 2016.


released August 8, 2006

Recorded at Song Machine by Fred Thomas in 2005
Elliot Bergman: Piano, Accordion
Juan Garcia: Lap Steel, Drum Kit
Warn DeFever: Piano
Jamie Saltzman: Double Bass
Peter Brant: Banjo, Bowed Banjo
Colette Alexander: Cello
Jeremy Peters: Trombone
Justin Walter: Trumpet

and the voices of:
Juan Garcia
Elise Bergman
Elliot Bergman
Kelly Jean Caldwell
Joe LaGrand
Sara Kooy
Eliza Godfrey
Peter Brant

All songs written by Fred Thomas
except “O Sweet Undoing!” which is an extension and
a reminder of the song “O Sweet Lung” by Ben & Bruno.
Mixed & edited at Brown Rice by Warn DeFever.

© 2005 Half-Broken Music (SESAC)


all rights reserved


Track Name: I Fell In Love With The World
I fell in love with the world as it fell out all around me
As a new existence found me out and sent me spinning down
And I fell in love with that spin
Like a cloud over an ocean
With the repetitive motion
With the slow repeating sound
Sound in the space between light and surroundings
I fell in love with New York
Not the buildings or the anthems
Like some heavy-hearted handsome ever does what it says it does
And I’d fallen in love before
Like when I fell in love with Esme
And that real love never left me
Just informed everything I would become
So I fell in love with the world
And I fell in love with breathing
And I fell in love with leaving
And I’ll leave before I’m done
And easy & relentless is just as easy, relentless does
And that’s everything that I was before I fell in love with the world.
Track Name: I Built A House
I built a house out of believing and burned it down
Serious shouts circled the ceiling then billowed out
Flames in my mouth, named after feelings
Crackling & proud, burning & beaming
I built a house then I decided to leave
I built a town, a park, a cathedral
Left no structure out
Wondered about how one room feels empty
And one feels loud with the wonder
Of how we had all lived in closets
In backyard lightning
Then lived alone with many disguises
Nobody seed you or me as the same person twice.
Track Name: Wet As A Cloud
Give up the ghost
Hold me close
Sing me the song that you love most
The words hang like diamonds with music inside them
Colliding in time with your mouth
Find me alone
Walk me home
Show me a world I’ve not yet known
The buildings are breathing
They cry when they’re sleeping
We’re hurting their feelings somehow
So send an apology made of technology
Bricks turn to circuits instead
Sing like a microphone
Talk like a telephone
Watch like a film in your head
Bleed like a needle
Don’t listen to people
They only say things so that something gets said
Cough like a cigarette
Turn like a tourniquet
Burn like a fire-truck red
Sleep like a pillow
And wait like a window in winter
With snow-covered ledge
The birds will return soon to bend ‘round your bedroom
While radios talk to the dead
And you dream like a bed
Whisper and speak
Touch my cheek
Show me the smile that makes me weak
Cars crash whenever we kiss
Everything vanishes
Sweetness is all I feel
Write on my hand
Breathe in the way only you can
You know that you are both the love note caught in my throat
And the hope that it’s real
So end like a funeral
Send out the usual
Static police from your lungs
Swallow like medicine
I think you’re better than anything under the sun
O life re-mystified!
O walking valentine!
O unimaginable love!
Smoke like a factory
Steal my identity
Sell it right back to me now
Break like tradition in need of revision
Transmissions will listen like sound
Think like a memory
Warm & Septembery
Endlessly coming unwound
‘Til you find yourself found with the graves in the ground
Tears rolling out of eyes wet as a cloud
But it’s only the sound of your joy coming down.
Track Name: Holland Tunnel
The Holland Tunnel’s two miles long
Sink into the aviary
Sing another song
And put that sewn-on patch to denim jacket
Coffee cup to sugar packet
Insane feast and beastly racket
Every single time
But when you feel like something’s wrong
Bear in your sweet mind
The sun will shine until it’s gone
And when your lives collide in dull crescendo
Telescope to bedroom window
Nervous knees and anxious elbows
I fell asleep in the backseat
And not for the life of me
Could I remember a time more complete
But I guess things seem more important
When you’re underwater
Disease and disorder seep out to the sea
And you don’t have to believe
Every angry thing everybody says
No, you don’t believe every stupid thing
If every city’s made of clay
Towering scraps of somethings someone someday throws away
It must get hard to keep track of everyone
What their names are, where they come from
Gene from Centerline
But I knew a girl who drove a cab
She took polaroids of every boy she’d ever had
And she laid them out on the floor of her bedroom
Resting on scarves soaked in perfume
End to end for all to look through
When it came my time I saw the one of me
One of my best friend
Some kid from some hazy weekend
The entire collection with no deletions
Kind of blew my mind
But when we held hands on her balcony
Not for the life of me could I envision a scene more sweet
But I guess things seem more important up forty stories
Your cares and your worries fall down to the street
And you don’t have to believe
Every angry thing everybody says
No, you don’t believe every stupid thing.
Track Name: Ethan
Ethan when you count your friends
Don’t count me like a number
Don’t hear me like the thunder
Don’t wonder, don’t decide
Apply no pluralism
Like the skies are still the sky
And know that if I die
I’ll die in love with who you are
All the rooms we slept in
And the cities where we never lived together
Any letter in the file
Sharper hearts beat faster rates
The car without a license plate
Hands full of cake.
Track Name: Fire
I held my breath
But I breathed in the smoke regardless of my room as it burned
It filled my lungs and I was done
Then I slept
I saw the line between sleeping and death as I stepped over it
A small voice sayed “Don’t be afraid”.
And a choice was made
And I dreamed of an auditorium surrounding me
A thousand eyes
A thousand hands held up the sky
And I believed I heard their voices in my mind say
“Don’t be sad, it’s just your time.
Go. Make a ladder of your spine.
Let every rung be stepped and climbed
Make hummingbirds from your insides
And let your veins turn into vines
And leave your teeth and bones behind.
Realize, now realize that you were only walking light
And let it go back down and shine
On everybody that you loved when you were alive”.
So Elit, would you wait for me
Even if I was removed from our time and died?
Well don’t cry because it’s only the last part of life
And I’m still by your side
And it will happen to you like it happened to me
And the rest of the people we know
Like the summers all end
And the trees lose their leaves
And the water turns back into snow
Every grandmother, grandfather, particle
We are all here for a while then we go
Living for love and love alone
And you will be with those angels in disguises
Cleverly holding their hands over your eyes
To make from your nightmares the night time
And you’ll believe one thousand days before you die
Maybe nine hundred ninety-nine
You’ll feel the numbers’ slow decline
But everybody, it’s alright
‘Cause you can’t argue with the sky
You can’t argue with fire.
Track Name: Susceptible To Ghosts
White houses prop up a blue sky
And there’s something they are trying to say
Through busted fences hounds howl on both sides
In a language that we’ve yet to translate
Down at the diner the children aren’t waiting for nighttime
I grew up in Ypsilanti
Writing down every mistake that I made
And I found you so many years later
Like a cloud hovering over a parade
That was me there, waving one hand in the air
And the other one glued to an old microphone
Yeah, it was me there
I couldn’t be seen there
For the skin that was stretched so tight over your bones
But it was me there, definitely there
I was your tears in the tow-away zone
I was the sugar at the bottom of the cone
I was the long distance call on the phone
I was the reason you had to leave home
I had a dream where I met you
In a windowless room full of wires & clothes
And I came to you in that dream with a warning
Lest you live your life susceptible to ghosts
That was me there, floating in the air
I was the horseshoe hanging over the door
Yeah it was me there, invisibly there
I was the shirt that your grandfather wore
O it was me there telling you to beware
I was the stuff that you stole from the store
I was the flowers you found on the floor
I was the white lines on I-94
I was the reason you never felt sure
It was me there like the atoms in the air
Like a bad check that some bad boyfriend wrote
And it was either two feelings or neither
You couldn’t have one without having them both
Yeah, it was me there
You wouldn’t believe where
I was the pocket of your winter coat
I was the ink on the crumpled-up note
I was the name that you kept in your throat
I was the reason you felt like a ghost.
Track Name: Wingspan
Haven’t we had enough of these apple orchard ideology games?
I feel like I can hear my neighbor’s phone ringing even one full block away
Why don’t you take me out and show me how you paint the town
Or we could drive around and listen for the sound of all of the lights going out
Why don’t you give up
Why don’t you give in
Why don’t you call me back and tell me how you’ve been?
Why don’t you fess up
Why don’t you cave in
Why don’t you condescend to be my friend again?
Katarina’s arms are longer than a wingspan
And every other day someone new comes around
To say there’s nothing left to what you do
There’s someone else in front of you
And you should just give up
You should just give in
You should just play it smart and stop before they win
Throw both your hands up
Throw all your money in
Get off the sinking ship made out of your own skin.
Track Name: Human Hands Made The Highways
Human hands made the highways
Little ears still hear the sine waves
Mice have little glowing hearts that beat like yours and mine
All the bricks that build the buildings
All the seeds that feed the children
Sprout up from the ground
And get cut down by machines breathing beings designed
All the way through the trees
You can hear me calling for you
All the way through the trees you can hear me
Human hands made the highways
You might need a doctor someday
You might need a cop or helicopter landing-pad
All the things that you threw away
You might need to remember the names
You might need to cry because you miss your mom and dad
All the way to the sea
You can hear me
The way I love you
All the way through the trees
Where I will be following you.
Track Name: Apples On The Floor
The radio waves sang like enemies in my parents’ house
I couldn’t hear all of the frequencies then
But I hear them now
The world it would turn inconsolably
And the sky turned black
I walked by the schools and the factories
But always turned back
And there were apples on the floor
There was another world war
Piles of plastics at the stores
Jimi Hendrix & The Doors
There was something on my mind
Could not fast-forward or rewind
I could just live in that time
With too many valentines
A candy heart that said ‘Be Mine’
Two empty bottles of red wine
Some new impossible design
With only intersecting lines
The haunted house on Halloween
The happy heart you’ve never seen
Left leg breaks through the trampoline
The red, the gold, the grey, the green
The leaves would fall in angry piles
You cut your hair in different styles
And we would lay there and smile
But it was only for a while
It’s only ever for a while
But sweetness comes in single-files
And your heart marches for miles.
Track Name: Yo-Yo Tricks
I could come from any direction that I wanted to
But I won’t tell you lies about a world that I almost knew
To sell my songs to you
And I see you early in the morning
Taking bottles back after your party
Someone’s passed out in the back of your Cadillac
And driving off so fast
And they’ll ask, “Where are you going?”
You’ll say, “I don’t know, but I’ve got to get there.”
Lights shine through the snow
And you’ll hear voices laughing
“You’ll be back here.”
“You’ll come back here.”
“Don’t think that you won’t.”
So when you see me on the corner
Doing yo-yo tricks for all the new children
They’ll be the same ones I had in ’96
I’ve got nothing new
But in the end like the beginning
There is trust and sound and no convolutions
If your head hurts while you’re singing
Take a look around
Get back in your shiny car
And tell yourself again
About how your engine is faster than my heart.
Track Name: O Sweet Undoing!
Sweet heart and mind
Work at the same time
Take in the light of the room you’re in
Sweet exhausted passion
Sweet hour of thrashing
Sweet drunken phone call
Sweet asleep in the hall
Sweet best friend through the wall like there’s no one there
O sweet clouds, rain on down, rain on me now
O sweet friends, breathe through me, breathe no end
O sweet inhalation, sweet breath, find no space, no fragment
Crowded corners
Find no audience
Find no rooftops, no rooms
Find no silence to cling to
Find no tying of knots
Find no alignment of thoughts
Find no incomplete
Sweet death, sweet ruin
Sweet end, sweet undoing
Sweet accidental ingestion
Sweet terrified questions
Sweet learning of lessons again & again
O Sweet end of the world
Sweet moving away
Sweet start of the day that you can’t stop
Sweet want
Sweet space where you’ve got to be.
Track Name: The Curse Is Broken! On To New Curses!
I swallowed my rings in my sleep
And dreamed of spitting out my teeth
While leaves danced on their branches to some strange time
Intrigue held hands with disgust
The world turned and I woke up
To one more city’s broken-hearted skyline
So save me a place in the line to the water
I found the bridge right on time but I was on the other side
You knew that I had been waiting forever
There was a song in my head and it was ruining my life
I saw you from the balcony
Sinking like a symphony
As cars were crashing in my memory two at a time
I held my breath to hear you speak
Your words made water of my knees
But still your voice was softer than the sunshine
You know you can laugh ‘cause your life is forever
There was a song in the sky
It was trying to tell you what to do
Fire your guns and beg forgiveness
Tell everyone the curse is lifted
On to new curses, on to new regrets
On to the next expanded fiction
On to the next bizarre affliction
And whichever curse has missed us as of yet
As flowers flung from wedding scenes
Filled up the floor beneath my feet
I started to believe your trifling timeline
And regret held hands
With the rust of several civilizations
The only option left for us was to rise.
Track Name: Wednesday Night
The same as all the burning leaves
And fading anniversaries
Our new ideas conclude
The way we are and want to be
A jealous kiss exchanged between
Two different ways to lose
I dreamed of you before we met
And in my dreams I held my breath
I felt so unafraid
Fresh faces in the photo booths
Extracted each like rotten tooths
But you always remained
And if you’re up on Wednesday night
Unlock your door and leave on your light
‘Cause I’ll be coming back again for you
Remember all the songs we played
Forget all the mistakes we made
There wasn’t nothing else that we could do.

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