Ooberman - The Magic Treehouse

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Cities That Fall

Time to sing the songs again
The songs of love and hope, that something will change
Time to look at who's to blame
The blood that flows before
The heart heals again

Lives we rebuild like cities that fall
Lives we rebuild like cities that fall

Time to strobe a thousand years
'Til days have turned to night, the dreams without sun
Time to grind the wheel again
Like monkeys dance along 'til the last man is gone

Lives we rebuild like cities that fall
Lives we rebuild like cities that fall

Lives we rebuild like cities that fall
Lives we rebuild like cities that fall
Lives we rebuild like cities that fall
Lives we rebuild like cities that fall

Written By:
A. Flett
Found On:
Hey Petrunko
Hey, Petrunko plus...
Andy: The album was supposedly complete when I wrote this song in the summer. Fortunately, the way things get delayed meant that we had time to record this pivotal track with a full band production. It started out as an acoustic guitar lament, the sort of melody in the verse I imagined a group of people, a tribe or a family perhaps could sing in unison, calling to a higher power for some sort of deliverence. I wanted a classical, possibly Middle Eastern feel to the chords, a minor key shiver of darkness and folorn hope, something that would fit into the musical universe that Dan had created elsewhere on Hey Petrunko. As often is the case with songwriting, different themes of inspiration come together to add to the emotional stew. I felt that my life was a bit of a bombsite and that whatever happened to the band (which was a bit of a warzone right then) my life would take a bit of rebuilding, like a fallen city. As Israeli tanks bulldozed and blasted Palestinian settlements in Hebron, I felt a surge of empathy towards people on both sides of serious conflicts who really do have to rebuild their lives. As I firmed up the song in my mind, playing it over and over to make sure I didn't forget the tune, I quickly found myself writing the words to the first verse and chorus, almost spontaneously. I immediately got on the phone to Dan who was in the practice room working on another song and I said I'd better come and record a demo of this one before I forgot. Sensing an undercurrent of urgency, Dan agreed and we captured an acoustic version. Later, I introduced the song to the full band who gave it the go ahead and before we knew it, we were in Tim Speed's studio, recording the backing tracks on the fly. Dan liked the song enough to collaborate. He optimised the structure and wrote the second verse then got on with arranging and recording a dramatic string arrangement performed by Andrew Carpenter. Again, this song suited Sophia's vocal and she contributed a spirit of beautiful sadness to the track, her layered counterpoints make my spine tingle in the last chorus every time I hear it. Dan used a leslie speaker effect on her vocals in the choruses to create a tonal lift from the verses, so listen out for that if like me you care about such things. Steve and Jay's rhythm section interplay was superb and there is some great swooping bass notes in the instrumental verse where the band is moving together - great stuff and something I hope to see more of in the future. There's a great staccato salvo at one point that emerged in rehearsal - inspired by Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and a moment on Led Zeppelin's 'Tea for One' (on their album 'Presence'). I like the way that sort of thing breaks the musical tension after its built to a peak and the way it sets up the next part of the song. The impact of this track was found to depend on its position in the tracklisting - another secret level of care put into Ooberman recordings. Dan and I spent many many hours trying a multitude of different running orders out until our ears bled and we found the classic tracklisting, we think!

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