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The Wilder Beyond

by Hillsburn

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about

Hillsburn doubled down on their independent ethos for their second record, The Wilder Beyond. Deciding to forego a formal studio setting, they produced the album collectively and recorded it in singer Paul Aarntzen’s Halifax apartment. Perhaps partly as a result of the new approach, the album departs sharply from the folk-rooted sound of Hillsburn’s award-winning In The Battle Years debut. The group’s soaring three-part harmonies are intact here, but densely-layered arrangements and more electronic instruments signal a move in the direction of indie rock.

Not that the album is easy to pin down stylistically. ‘Strange Clouds,’ the guitar-driven lead track, recalls Florence + The Machine. 'Sun Ought To Shine,’ which features the record’s standout vocal performance, draws on Motown. And 'Time of Life,’ the closing track, could be a Neil Young song. The Wilder Beyond manages to land somewhere in the vast terrain between Aretha Franklin and Suburbs-era Arcade Fire while simultaneously sounding fresh and coherent.

credits

released February 2, 2018

Hillsburn is:

Jackson Fairfax-Perry
Clare Macdonald
Rosanna Burrill
Paul Aarntzen
Clayton Burrill

All songs written by Paul Aarntzen

All tracks except “Everywhere” engineered and mixed
by Paul Aarntzen

“Everywhere” produced by Classified, engineered by
Classified and Paul Aarntzen, mixed by Paul Aarntzen

Additional mixing and mastering by John D.S. Adams at
Stonehouse Sound, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Strings and horns on "Sun Ought To Shine" and "Born Only To Love You” written by Jackson Fairfax-Perry

Guest musicians: Norman Adams (cello), Andrew Jackson
(trombone), James Ervin (trumpet), Nigel Jenkins (vocals)

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private broadcasters. Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.

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Hillsburn Halifax, Nova Scotia

Hillsburn is a five-piece indie rock band from Nova Scotia.

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Track Name: Strange Clouds
I had a nightmare:
Out on the water,
Rushing river was ahead of me,
All it wanted was a slaughter.
And all my friends, afloat with me,
Quietly drowning.
No sound but the breeze.

But there’s no way I’m going under.
No way.
Strike up the drummer, play me a song.
I’m floating on.
Strange clouds are gathering.

All right, I’m tired of riddles.
Never been lower.
Don’t know anyone who sleeps at night.
Don’t know anyone who’s sober.
Our wasted youth, my wasted friends,
Is a circus of purchase of meaningless ends.

But there’s no way I’m going under.
No way.
Strike up the drummer, play me a song.
I’m floating on.
Strange clouds are gathering.
No way I’m going under.
No way.
Strike up the drummer, play me a song.
I’m floating on.
Strange clouds are gathering.

River floats me slow
Through all the towns I know,
Train whistle blows,
And from my back, the stars above
Are all the joys I’ve missed,
Pointillist, growing fast.
My day comes, at last.
And love is really all.

All right, I’m not John Lennon,
But I dream in Beatles.
Little honey for your head at night.
Kind of need the way it feels.
Our hopeless days,
My hopeless friends,
I’m done with ‘em.
Done with ‘em.
Done with ‘em.
Done with ‘em.

No way I’m going under.
No way.
Strike up the drummer,
Play me a song.
I’m floating on.
Strange clouds are gathering.
Strange clouds are gathering.
Strange clouds are gathering.
Strange clouds are gathering.
Strange clouds are gathering.
Track Name: Cover It Up
I was up on a cliff, looking over my home.
Then I dove,
And screamed like a new bird
Through the wilder beyond.
I could fly, I could sing.
I was king, I was queen, I was no one.

It was a dream I had
When I was someone else.
It’s nothing, it’s nothing.
Now I don’t dream it.

So, if you want to cover it up,
I’m a liar, I got what you want.
If you want to cover it up, cover it up.

I’m the fittest I’ve been.
I work hard every day.
In my play, I am sane, I am grounded.
But there was something once.
Some kind of bridge I crossed
Away from honest lusts.
Oh, all the things I’ve lost.

It was a dream I had
When I was someone else.
It’s nothing, it’s nothing.
No, I don’t dream it now.
Was just a dream I had
When I was someone else.
It’s nothing, it’s nothing.
No, I don’t dream it.

So, if you want to cover it up,
I’m a liar, I got what you want.
If you want to cover it up,
I’m a liar, I got what you want.
If you want to cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.

There was a dream I had
When I was someone else.
It’s not that it’s nothing.
It’s I won’t dream it now.

If you want to cover it up,
I’m a liar, I got what you want.
If you want to cover it up,
I’m a liar, I got what you want.
If you want to cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.
Cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.
We’re gonna cover it up, cover it up.
Track Name: Sun Ought To Shine
The scene then was daylight failing,
You on the sidewalk, me at the railing.
A raincloud growled low in the distance —
My sorrow, my engine, warming its pistons.

“I can’t live without ya,” I said.
You were grinning.
Such are the swamps that we swim in.

Wherever you go, the sun ought to shine,
Though it won’t shine for you all of the time.
But clouds are just clouds,
And mirrors just sand.
And if you should want me,
You know where I am.

Old songs on the radio play.
I can’t feel ‘em.
Will I someday?
Strangers walk slow past my window.
Kind, gentle people, maybe,
But how will I know?

I wish I could hate you, but I cannot do it.
You are my fortune, my ruin.

Wherever you go, the sun ought to shine
Though it won’t shine for you all of the time.
But clouds are just clouds,
And mirrors just sand.
And if you should want me,
You know where I am.

I work and I wash and I laugh when I can,
But I don’t feel nothing,
And no one understands
Why I miss you — my shackle, my jailer, my jail.
Memory’s the vessel.
Time is just a sail.

I still can’t live without you,
And you’re still here grinning.
Such are the swamps that we swim in.

Wherever you go, the sun ought to shine
Though it won’t shine for you all of the time.
But clouds are just clouds,
And mirrors just sand.
And if you should want me,
You know where I am.
Track Name: Everywhere
Woke up screaming last night.
Sleep is a senseless shame.
Beasts of the day, they run wild
Through hallways you made as a child.
I want to sleep for weeks
And be numb to the truth I know:
That nobody really needs you.
So you doubt ‘em, whatever you do.
Because the low, the low,
It’s everywhere.
In the morning air.
We’re born to hurt, baby.
Yeah, the low, the low.
It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere,
It’s everywhere.

The crooks a-bloat in the harbour
And the roses sprout from stone.
And every villain you knew,
They’re blowing kisses at you.
But the moon’s still the spit
Of some fled, fed-up god.
But you don’t want for nothing,
And you just cannot square it.
The love of your life,
From your castle, throwing money,
And she cradles your face
While you’re kneeling in line for the low.
The low, it’s everywhere.
In the morning air.
We’re born to hurt, baby.
Yeah, the low, the low.
It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere.
In everything breathing is the low.
The low, it’s everywhere, it’s everywhere.
It’s everywhere, baby.
Yeah, the low, the low.
It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere,
It’s everywhere.

So, come on, strip me
For some drunken pollution.
Fête me through the cars of a train.
Bombard my heart under pretty sky.
I buried someone one summer.
Since then, over and over and over again,
Oh, the low, the low, it’s everywhere.
In the morning air.
We’re born to hurt, baby.
Yeah, the low, the low.
It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere.
In everything breathing is the low.
The low, it’s everywhere, it’s everywhere.
It’s everywhere, baby.
Yeah, the low, the low.
It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere,
It’s everywhere.
Track Name: Everything Is New
Buried him this morning.
I want to lay my head down
And maybe never get up.
If I did, who’d know now?

Lord, why’s it got to be so hard?
My whole life I’ve been slowly dying in the dark.

I want to come back
In some broad, green country.
Like something out of Steinbeck,
I’d be a rural beauty.

Lord, why’s it got to be so hard?
My whole life I’ve been slowly dying in the dark.

Sometimes it’s like your past pain
Is dragging from the back of your feet,
And you struggle ‘round a corner,
But it’s all the same street.
If I’m due a little luck,
Could you lay it on me today?

Wash off all my makeup,
Tell the dog I’m sorry.
Woman in the mirror
Says I’m so damn ugly.

Lord, why’s it got to be so hard?
My whole life I’ve been slowly dying in the dark.
Why’s it got to be so hard?
My whole life I’ve been slowly dying in the --

I go up now on the rooftop,
Say no farewells,
Smell the raindrops.
It’s just a quick step,
A rush of sweet air,
And everything’s new.

‘Cross some valley,
The wind is blowing,
A sawmill turning,
The cattle lowing.
And through some doorway,
A pregnant push and — lord, lord, lord.
Track Name: Young Desire
Smell of high-school hallways.
Lake on flush young skin.
Stumbled words and hands at night.
Soft, steady chagrin.

This is, this is your young desire.
Oh, it’s wild and it’s sweet and pathetic.
And somehow you never forget it.

She left with Halley’s Comet.
Was nineteen eighty-six.
And people said, “Now buck up, kid.
You’re too young, you love too quick.”
So I burned Carl Sagan’s Cosmos,
And the lake kind of lost its feel.
Now the day she left doesn’t stand out much.
But is that true?
Am I losing touch?

Oh this is, this is your young desire.
Oh, it’s wild and it’s sweet and pathetic.
And somehow you never forget it.
Oh this is, this is your young desire.
Oh, it’s wild and it’s sweet and pathetic.
And somehow you never forget it.

Walking lone home today,
On a corner swear she’s there.
And stars don’t fall anymore for me.
Or not in a way that compares.
So I step out into traffic.
The doctor’ll ask me why.
And bandaged up, with a blush, I’ll sigh:
“Cause I can’t get out of bed sometimes.”

Oh, this is, this is your young desire.
Oh, it’s wild and it’s sweet and pathetic.
And somehow you never forget it.
Oh, this is, this is your young desire.
Oh, it’s wild and it’s sweet and pathetic.
And somehow you never forget it.
Oh, this is, this is your young desire.
Oh, it’s wild and it’s sweet and pathetic.
And somehow you never forget it.
Oh, this is, this is your young desire.
Oh, it’s wild and it’s sweet and pathetic.
And somehow you never forget it.
Track Name: Born Only To Love You
I led five hundred through the field,
Down out the hills
To where the dam was built,
And set 'em all to dancing.
And set 'em all to drinking.

Then while they slept out in the moonlight,
I lit the charges,
Watched the valley fill,
And all the world was drowning,
Was beautiful and floating.

So, go take your love.
I don’t need it.
Soon my hate so sweet will make
Chainmaille of live bees.
Yeah, yeah.

I was born only to love you.
I was born only to love you.

Don't crowd the valley with your saints.
I'll make a shroud and choir
Of rats and snakes.
We'll sing a hallelujah.
But, really, what's it to ya?

Go take your love, I don’t need it.
Soon my hate so sweet will make
Chainmaille of live bees.
Yeah, yeah.

I was born only to love you.
I was born only to love you.
I was born only to love you.
Track Name: Bad Behaviours
Backward a century,
I’d kiss one man and they’d hunt for me.
Our privileges bridges
Someone before us has built
As they pushed that sleep from our eyes.

Love, give me courage now.
I’m going grey and I’m slowing down.
Should break a window,
A symbol, or something.
God, I don’t know.
Got to keep the sleep from my eyes.

Yeah, I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe
It’ll turn out all right in the end
If you keep up the bad behaviours.
Got to keep up the bad behaviours.

So, come on, kid, don’t give up.
Upend my banquet and drain my cup.
Oh, kid, we’re ready, we’re ready.
We’re ready, ready or not.
Got to keep that sleep from our eyes.

Yeah, I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe
It’ll turn out all right in the end.
Yeah, I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe
It’ll turn out all right in the end
If you keep up the bad behaviours.
Got to keep up the bad behaviours.
Keep up the bad behaviours.
Got to keep up the bad behaviours.
Track Name: With The Larks
Picture your mother.
Picture she never met your father.
You’re born a couple thousand miles away
With a different name, a different face.

You swim in rivers,
You’re picking oranges in winter,
The sun’s a sliver in a sky of birds,
And the only words you know are:
“Now. Now I am happy. Happy.”
And every day you sing with the larks.

You watch the sun rise,
Your friends are there, no one you love dies.
Your pretty darling sighs a sound so sweet.
You tap your feet, and whisper:
“Now. Now I am happy. Happy.”
And every day you sing with the larks.

Nights I lie here, lonely.
Drugs they sleep me slowly.
In dreams, oh god, I’m so alive.
Sky is blue up above.
Heaven’s real.
So is love.
And with my friends,
Our youth revived,
We swim in rivers.
We’re picking oranges in winter.
The sun’s a sliver in a sky of birds,
And the only words we know are:
“Now. Now I am happy. Happy.”
And every day I sing with the,
Every day I sing with the,
Every day I sing with the larks.
Track Name: Time Of Life
They leap upon ya, days of trauma,
Of fire and thunder, shame and fright.
Some to grieve through, some that tattoo
The skin you're in, your dreams at night.

Seems sometimes you've got
Wolves around you.
You're terrified by the
Ghosts that hound you.
But it gets better.
This stormy weather,
It's tethered to this time of life.

Had this friend when I was a young man
Who showed me how to fly a kite.
Not the fun kind,
Those that help find
The people stumbling toward the light.

Seems sometimes you've got
Wolves around you.
You're terrified by the
Ghosts that hound you.
But you've got friends
Who'd love to know you,
And show you through this time of life.

And some day soon
All the trees will blossom,
The floods recede
And these fields, you'll cross 'em.
And exultation, jubilation —
They’re stations, too,
Both times of life.

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