Landmarks, Junctions, Etc.

by Rhode Island

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Written in 2007 and recorded in kitchens and living rooms, Landmarks, Junctions, Etc. is an album largely about Leeds during the early 21st century property boom (remember that?). It was being monkeyed around with and it seemed appropriate to document this in some small way.

“like the Mystery Jets if they were really good; all well-placed tempo changes and crafty instrumental breaks; a real masterclass in indie-pop dynamics”

- Alistair Brown, Sandman Magazine

“This one has everything, rockers, folkers and poppers, anything a Anglophile musicologist would want from his Brit-pop. And it’s all for free… amazing.”

- Kevin Matthews, Power Of Pop


released November 30, 2007




Rhode Island Leeds, UK

Three-man melody machine.

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Track Name: Stainbeck Road I
So the land did acquiesce to man, his vast stupidity
The great “I AM”.

This is mine, it’s not theirs, it’s not yours either
Get that in your head.

Council legislation. Hedge specification.
New planning permission. Suburban segregation.

This is my stand, it’s my fence
Mental health is measured in land in private hands.

Neighbourly aggression. Familial suspicion.
Communal fragmentation. A battle of attrition.

MAN: “I” am a noun
Like a pack of dogs I will take you down if you even look at me.

The word of God, the word of Man
He does it ’cause he can can can
Above all else we must concede
There’s no such thing as society.
Track Name: A Propos Nothing
Louis Althusser like a dog on heat
People who taught us how to count were being pretty sweet
Don’t forget what your Mum and Dad look like
There’s an epithet used before sleep.

The world is full of leaves, the world is full of decaying things
And vaudeville shows continue; we don’t
A sister who points to the sky is a very good sister indeed.

Starlight fuckface fly a kite pack a suitcase my fault completely
See, I dunno how to function: apropos nothing.

If it looks good then eat it, pick up the fucking phone please
You look good in shorts, you look great to me
The gravestone read “TAKEN FROM US”
Kind of pasted together, kind of hopelessly clever.
Track Name: You Look So Sad
Acid thrown from a silver tray
Stripping paint off the cars on the roadside
A Mini Cooper and a Peugeot Cabriole
Last night it drained past the speeding traps
Past the iron gated playground
The bungalows and professional flats.

All the people that we fear, all the houses we live near.
And the mothers are crying, and the fathers are yelling
And they look so sad.

Traffic slips into the ten mile zone
The money’s good but the hours aren’t great
All you need is a car and a mobile phone
Tracksuits: the riches of the poor
French sports company dividends, that new ring road Tesco superstore.
Track Name: Evelyn
Evelyn riding a bicycle, it was given to her when she turned five
Coming into sight in the evening light, she is coming up on the wrong side
Run into the road, panic starts to grow
‘Cause she’s tripping and she starts to sway
Evelyn, come! Evelyn, come! Evelyn come away!

Open up the bag, put your hand inside
Feel the juices and the rubbish and the bones
Tell me how it feels, an archaeology of consumers/progenitors
Baby you’re alone.

Your face pressed clean against the TV screen
It’s increasingly hard to say:
Evelyn, come! Evelyn, come! Evelyn come away! Child!

Keep her inside, keep her safe from harm
She’s a bringer of life and a bringer of calm
Fried chicken and shrunken heads
The book of revelations and the grateful dead
A bath, a Sunday drive, Evelyn’s keeping you alive
At night when the lights are off and the heating’s off and Evelyn’s off… gh&*$dhdj///##
Track Name: Stainbeck Road II
The committee is taking its turn
To decide on all relevant terms
There is much to discuss and debate
Your proposal will just have to wait
Slow down, hang tough.

Let us first make it perfectly clear
You’ve no right to make land disappear
Your ontological premise is flawed
Standing proud with both balls to the wall
Slow down, hang tough, slow down.

We’re just lines on a map, dots on a wall
Names on a board, we’re nothing at all.

This is mine it’s not theirs it’s not yours either it’s not
This is my stand it’s my fence it’s my fence in private hands
I’m a noun, like a pack of dogs I will take you down.

Hedge specification. Communal fragmentation.
Suburban segregation. A battle of - .

We live round here too and we know what you plan to do
Just try us.
Track Name: Easier Said Than Done
It crawls around your ankles and moves slowly up your shin
It draws a little circle on the ground and sucks you in
And I’ll never know how bad you feel but I can stay with you for a while
And say things like:
“Isn’t life just a bitch, but at least she hasn’t killed you yet.”

I know that God’s delusion and that faith is just the same
But I’ve never met a man who’s not delusional or in chains
They said if you put it into words you’ll realise it’s fragile and absurd
These emotions aren’t ours, we just borrow them
So why can’t we give them back?

Because it’s easier said than done.
Track Name: Observer Effect
Sometimes the simplest of questions can reveal a fascinating answer
Corridors too narrow, streets are too enclosed
Two places at once, how can we ever know?

Going slow past the speeding cameras outside the school
A cigarette in your mouth and a look from a teacher who’ll know that
I can’t abide.

It’s undeniably ironic when there’s ten thousand needles, all you need’s a spoon
The view through dust and particles on Quarry Hill:
Ultra modern spire come chimney shining still.

Watching the early morning news to see
If your report on the problems in the inner city is well received.
Track Name: Sheepscar Interchange
Wilder tricycling down the ring-road under baited eyes and baited skies
Dear God, let him be safe and right, the tower looks beautiful tonight.

Take the fast route to the ring-road, may you never ever get home
We are living in the wrong time in the wrong skin
There is nothing that we really own, ours will be bones
All that is solid melts into air!

Safe inside, see two worlds colliding, spit, struggle
A Brownfield site, a new way of life, such a formidable price to pay
These panels of green and grey and gold.
Track Name: Stainbeck Road III
Take me to my caravan, I’ll make you understand
Possession of a floor, I want a metre more
So tell me how we can strike a deal
For Babel in my garden, the blueprints of my stardom
Its lifted up my eyes to silver skies
And suicidal cries of empty lives
Build a fence, build a wall, I’ll draw a line and fuck them all.

The committee has spoken, I’m broken, there’s no one left to buy
There was no illusion, it was just collusion
I have Home Owner’s Rights!
My feet drag on new grass where once was plexi-glass
They cut me down to size, a single metre high
I see those silver skies with tired eyes
And think of all the years that I have lied
Build a fence, build a wall, I’ll draw a line and fuck them all.

NARRATOR: And the plagues and the witches gave way to slum and cholera, iniquitous dives, crooked crannies. Until an idea announced itself, loudly, rudely: “start again!” And so by railway, motorway, bus station, flyover and intersection, land was reclaimed. Polders. Furious levelling; bolstering; scaffolding; stainless steel exoskeleton; concrete flesh; mod-cons; homes and city living. A forced first elbow towards community. Life breathed listlessly into the fresh plaster until condensation ate everything, like acid. Walls crumbled. Leaves marched towards the front door. The calls for assault ever-strong, a general’s cry: “No mercy!” Until an idea announced itself, louder, ruder: “start again!” And so (by railway, motorway, bus station, flyover and intersection, city loop, police HQ, market square, culvert spa) it sits calmly, stoically, demonstrably, the eloquence in well planned irony: the Offices of Social Security.

The bubble burst, the realtors cried
A libertarian lived and died
Above his grave the stone did read:

Track Name: The Old People
It’s the summer when it hurts the most
When the dust feels close
When the old folks know
When a criminal is tied to a crime
And a mother’s tied to a space and a time.

Reality bites, and we can’t shape our plans
But then there’s people on the telly saying “Be your own man”
Well I had a dream where men weren’t called men.

But men are still called men, a curse is still a curse
You know history hurts, a word on a wing
But it’s cable strong, strong enough to pin you down
Whether it’s right or wrong
In other people’s lives I’ve been born and slain a hundred times.

We live in an age where we call poor people “chavs”
Well, if you give someone a brand at least it’s one thing they have
But I had a dream in which “chavs” weren’t called “chavs”.

Oh please, the city of Leeds, won’t you say something to me?
Track Name: Non Progress
Bricks, useless bricks, Portland Mix, straws and sticks
Kids, pointless kids, riding bikes, stolen bikes
It’s my living will, I will love you ’til.

Roads that sound through the still of night
I’m alive, are you there?
People sell, darling, let’s repent, it’s not ours to be like them anyway
It’s our living hell, I will love you.

Balconies numbering millions turn in unison towards the sun
Developers bought my house today, knocked it down
For the price the council would pay for some land by the motorway
It’s my living hell, I will love you.

“And we don’t care how much debt we can afford
If it crashes round our ears we’ll ask for more
And what the hell d’you think we’re working for!?”
…Well we don’t know.

Oh the birds and bees and leaves and trees make way for patios and pots
All the fads and scenes and magazines inside these walls, they mean a lot
Oh what will I be when I’m not me? Just turn it off and make it stop.
Track Name: Landmarks
The people in the graves can’t be dead
It must be something more like sleep
Or a trick played on people instead
The dirt packed down, they strain and writhe and struggle
Yesterday will make you cry
Yesterday will make you fall down and die.

Three or four times a year
I will go alone to see them standing, impervious, there
Stained by time they stare back, gazing at nothing
Yesterday will make you cry
Yesterday will make you fall down and die.

I have found the landmarks and the junctions in this town
Tell a story, a secret history, like the people in the ground

Or the mirror in your house.