In the Mean Time

by The Hepburns

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about

What it all comes down to is anger. The new Hepburns album is also given to joy, humour, and deep reverence for life’s in-between moments—but its heart is full of rage. Against the prejudice which fostered Brexit and Trump, yes; against the plutocrats pulling the strings, yes; but above all against the fact that, mean as these times are, one day we will have to leave it all behind.

IN THE MEAN TIME features our original drummer, Les Mun. Les last appeared on our 1988 debut THE MAGIC OF THE HEPBURNS on Cherry Red. It is our 6th album released through Radio Khartoum of Berkeley, California. It is dedicated to the late Pat Grover, our ex-drummer, who played on 4 of our Radio Khartoum albums.

We write songs at a tangent to real events, always with a view to creating something beautiful and emotionally evocative. This time around the recordings are anchored by brass arrangements galore and a 1960s Italian-made Contessa semi-acoustic guitar that belonged to our late drummer, Pat Grover.

Musical references include late-’60s to early-’70s easy listening (Alan Hawkshaw, Bert Kaempfert), TV and film themes (Ronnie Hazlehurst, Roy Budd) as interpreted by a late-’80s British guitar-pop band, and Jonathan Richman’s ‘Roadrunner’ and ‘Egyptian Reggae’.

credits

released April 6, 2018

Matt Jones: guitar and vocals
Mike Thomas: bass
Les Mun: drums
Cris Haines: brass
Sue Reece: keyboards and flute

Written by Matt Jones
Recorded by the Hepburns in Llanfynydd, Wales
Mixed and mastered by Anthony Rochester in Hobart, Tasmania
Design: Bügelfrei

Mr. Jones’s songs are published by The Subjunctive Mood (ASCAP)

Dedicated to Pat Grover

Radio Khartoum KHZ118

license

all rights reserved

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about

The Hepburns Wales, UK

The Hepburns are a Welsh indie band from Llanelli, South-West Wales. They have recorded ten albums, two EPs, one single, and three BBC sessions and have been signed to Berkeley-based label Radio Khartoum since 1999. They toured the United States and Scandinavia in 2007. 'There’s No Such Thing as The Hepburns', their tenth studio album, is due for release on 29 January 2017. ... more

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Track Name: Abattoir
And so here we are, so here we are
Sat in a puddle in the abattoir
And so here we are, so here we are
Sat in a puddle in the abattoir
With all the wealth that never trickled down
It just accrued in stagnant pools
Stinking out Fleet and Threadneedle Street
And all the public schools

And so here we are, so here we are
Floating along with the Chancellor
And so here we are, so here we are
Floating along with the Chancellor
Sneering at the queue at the soup kitchen
With an unholy stench at his heels
On his way to the City
And a lifetime of free meals

And when he's gone, and when he’s gone
They'll name something after him
And when he's gone, and when he’s gone
They'll name something after him
A museum or a library
Or maybe a star
But if there were any justice
It would be an abattoir
Track Name: Bees
Golden rays broke through the trees
A shower of coins upon the green
The green water that flowed
Joyfully you splashed around
An angel tethered to the ground
By the sunshine hallowed

Like the buzz of a million bees
Somewhere beyond the trees

Suddenly the grey skies loomed
The gilded present was entombed
The glory passing into memory
Slipping around in the mud
The air laced with the smell of blood
So follow me, follow, down to the hollow…

Like the buzz of a million bees
Somewhere beyond the trees

Watching you swim in the stream
I suddenly became aware of the sound
Of the sound of a machine
Like the buzzing of a million bees
Somewhere beyond the trees
Beyond the vaulted canopy of green

Like the buzz of a million bees
Somewhere beyond the trees
Track Name: In the Mean Time
The municipal grey
Of an empty hallway
The glow of the strip lighting

Pleading into the pay phone
He knows his chance of love is gone
Stranded in the mean time

A nineteen-eighties boarding pass
A tea break in a language class
Capped-sleeve t-shirt, forgotten hurt

The high-pitched keening
Of a dial-up modem
We’re all stranded in the mean time
Track Name: Songs to Bring You Back
We drove up in convoy
Me, Mark, Darren, Smevs, and Shag
Mark brought some of his CDs
In a carrier bag
It was a beautiful day
We sang along to a film soundtrack
But we were delayed outside Oxford
In a ten-mile tail-back
We were delayed outside Oxford
In a ten-mile tail-back

Due to the traffic jam
We were ten minutes late
But in the grander scheme of things
What’s a ten-minute wait?
The Egg and Wish were there,
Milt, Boon, Skells, and Chief
But I thought I’d talk about the music
Instead of our grief
I thought I’d talk about the music
Instead of our grief

‘The Times They Are a-Changin’’
Instead of a hymn
Peter Ustinov was there
I said ‘Look, it’s him’
It was a beautiful day
We sang along to a film soundtrack
Songs to sing you on your way
And songs to bring you back
Songs to sing you on your way
And songs to bring you back
Track Name: She’s a Colossus
She’s a colossus, it can’t be denied
At least a summer long and a winter wide
Steel hawsers for hair and floodlights for eyes
She begs inclusion by virtue of size

I advise caution, no human contortions
Could ever assume such gigantic proportions

Each one of her fists a time zone at least
Her head’s in the west, her feet are in the east
The hair upon her skin a forest petrified
The blood that flows within the Mersey or the Clyde

I advise caution, no human contortions
Could ever assume such gigantic proportions

When critiquing rational thinking,
Kant had her in mind
One hand on Pacific Standard,
One on Greenwich Mean Time

She’s a colossus
Track Name: Porthcawl
In official documents or
In billets-doux
To exonerate myself
When I was in a stew

Or contrariwise,
Those times that I confessed
You look much better
When you’re undressed
For the record

In order to conceal myself
Or in order to be. They say it
Isn’t me that’s using you,
It’s you that’s using me

I suppose you could exist
Without talking at all
Like going on holidays
And sending back a postcard that said ‘Porthcawl’
For the record
Track Name: Cornerman
I can be your cornerman
If any man can, I can be your cornerman
Sneaking in the back door with those boxing
magazines
With my butterfly stitches and my pot of Vaseline
Yeah, I can be your cornerman

When there’s a situation, there’s a situation
When there’s nowhere to hide, when there’s nowhere
to run
Drop me an email, or send me a text
No need to panic, no need to be vexed
Yeah, I can be your cornerman

There’s no ‘I’ in ‘cornerman’
But there’s a ‘we’ in ‘welcome’

If you’ve been given the boot or humiliated greatly
If you’re being overlooked for some Johnny-comelately
If your day-to-day existence is becoming a drag
Then pack up all your troubles in this old kit bag
Yeah, I can be your cornerman

There’s no ‘I’ in ‘cornerman’
But there’s a ‘we’ in ‘welcome’
Track Name: Late-Eighties Dream
In my dream the suntan cream
Has stained your paperback
Your hair is hennaed and
Your fingernails are painted black
In my dream you lose your page
As the sea breeze rolls in
Smelling of patchouli oil
And reading Anaïs Nin

The seaweed dried up in the heat
The water warming in rock pools
The sand so hot it burns your feet
The sand so hot it never cools
Your Walkman infiltrates the air
Sounds like ‘River Euphrates’
Your Raybans reflect my stare, yeah
Dream of the late eighties

Muscle men are kicking sand
Pieces of raw meat
Are sizzling on the burger stand
The honeycomb is bittersweet
Hiding yourself from the sun
Is your idea of summertime fun
Deathly pallor and hair of jet
Cocteau Twins on a compilation cassette

Looking at my phone I said:
‘Have you seen what the date is?
What’s happening?
I guess this must be some kind of hiatus...’
You didn’t have to say a word
You just stared at my phone
Then returned to your paperback
You returned to your time zone
Track Name: Suburb-o-tron
The day is dawning
In the dormitory town
The suburbs are yawning
As the sunlight filters down
From the clouds above the park and ride
Heading in their droves
Heading to the city
From the crescents and the groves
Suburb-o-tron

Sitting on the shuttle
The countryside flies by
I can see you squinting
Out the corner of your eye
Here’s a pound to a penny
That you don’t remember me
But we went to school together
Back in the seventies
Suburb-o-tron

Sitting in the lap of luxury
But you can’t even spare a thought for me
You take the wife and kids abroad
Surround yourself with pretty things
That I can’t afford

Your sense of entitlement
And my lack of self-worth
Are just an accident
An accident of birth
Pardon the intrusion
Please forgive my lack of tact
But I’m tired of waiting tables
Which, against me, have been stacked
Suburb-o-tron

You get the impression
Something is wrong
I see you reach for
The emergency alarm
A cloud is passing
Over the sun
It’s okay. I just want a tête-à-tête
A little one-to-one
Suburb-o-tron

You call it ‘Benefits Britain’
But as far as I can see
It’s the likes of you that benefit
And not the likes of me
No better off than we were before
Generations after generations
Heading for the abattoir
Suburb-o-tron
Track Name: Heading East, Facing West
That night I skated helplessly across the dirty snow
Hurtling down the wrong side of the road,I thought about you
And as a demon juggernaut came thundering towards me
With all the angels how I pleaded wordlessly

I crawled like a baby, cursing in the deadly slush
I blushed like a teenager, nursing a schoolboy crush
And as a demon juggernaut came thundering towards me
With all the angels how I pleaded wordlessly

My heart was beating in my chest, heading east but facing west
I wasn’t ready to of worldly apparel myself divest

Satan’s offspring, Sin and Death, were there at the roadside
And Cerberus was barking as the gates swung open wide
I beheld Hell’s occupants, though substance they had none
Chaos was the driver with Darkness riding shotgun

Lucifer leaned over and he opened up the door
Between his world and language, between his world and the law
And in the shadows behind him I swear that I saw Mammon
Updating his Facebook status on his mobile phone

My heart was beating in my chest, heading east but facing west
I wasn’t ready to of worldly apparel myself divest

I got a good look at Death’s face as I sped off towards your place
I know we’ll meet again someday but I’m grateful for the delay

Each line of your story is embroidered on your skin
You’re like a map of all the people and the places you have been
Track Name: Cigarette
It’s not the way you talk
It’s not the way you move
It’s not the way you walk
It’s not the way you groove
It’s not the way you smoke your cigarette
Well if it was, well maybe I could
Just forgive and forget
I don’t know what it is
That gets me about you
It’s not because you’re different
Although I despise that too

I really think things would be better if
You just went back where you came from
I really think we need some changes
So we can keep things the same

It’s not my pettiness
That’s making me look small
It’s not my prejudice
It’s not that way at all
It’s not the way you smoke your cigarette
But from the writing on the packaging
Those cigarettes were smuggled in, I bet
I don’t know what it is
That gets me about you
It’s not because you’re different
Although I despise that too
Track Name: Summer of Nothing
It was just an idea with which I had toyed
What if my social diary were completely destroyed
My chauffeur and my stylist were made unemployed?
Squinting into the sunlight as if into a void

Nobody to accommodate, nobody to offend
Maybe a perfect stranger I would fleetingly befriend
We’d talk about the weather upon a westbound train
We’d talk about the weather and then never meet again

You said be careful what you wish for
Another pearl of wisdom from your pearl of wisdom store
Maybe next summer I’ll beat a path to your door
A topsy-turvy Oliver, I don’t want any more
Track Name: Top Shelf
I must admit I had a craving
For a can of Dunn’s River Nurishment
It was late and I was feeling hungry
So I thought I’d try the newsagent
This place hasn’t changed a lot in all these years
I thought to myself
This place hasn’t changed a lot in all these years
Then I spied the top shelf
The other shelves were choc-a-bloc with stock,
With ‘Woman’s Weekly’ and ‘Men’s Health’
But there was not a single dirty magazine
Upon the top shelf

I paid the man and thanked him
For his can of Dunn’s River Nurishment
It was quite expensive, but considering the circumstances
I believe it was money well spent
This place hasn’t changed a lot in all these years
I thought to myself
This place hasn’t changed a lot in all these years
Then I spied the top shelf
Despite the fact that all the dirty books were gone
There was a sign for all to see:
‘If you want to read a magazine for free
Then join the library’

It is not my purpose to upbraid
The dirty mackintosh brigade
The legions of the damned
Their airing cupboards crammed
With the material no longer here displayed
Or to cock a snook at the mild rebuke
To the freeloaders ghostly
The reprimand to the spectral hand
Reaching out for books that you can’t see
Track Name: Valencia
Saturday morning
Got a cup of tea and The Cold Six Thousand
Sitting on a new sun lounger
It’s my new Valencia
Valencia the Second
I stared at the blue sky and the blue sky beckoned
Oh Valencia

Saturday morning
Got a cup of Darjeeling and Blood’s a Rover
Sitting on a blue sun lounger
It’s the new Valencia
A jet floated silently from east to west
Headed from Heathrow to LAX
The silence belying the bright orange din
Of those supersonic engines
I let my mind wander
I’m lounging in Wales
But dreaming of the wide blue yonder
Track Name: Legspinner
If you should ever return from your lengthy sojourn
Come back to this place
With every second of your seven-year sabbatical
Written in lines upon your face
If you ever come back

Looking older and thinner, like an old legspinner
Like a ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’, an ‘Absolute Beginner’
Looking older and thinner, like an old legspinner
With your duty free in one hand and your suitcase in the other
If you ever come back

If you should ever return from your lengthy sojourn
Come back to this place
With your luggage tag and your duty free bag
Smelling of Departures and in disgrace
If you ever come back

Like some refugee from Ancient Greece
With your exemplary approach to the crease
Maybe we can begin to get out of the hole we’re in
Track Name: Nova
A weather-beaten Nova
Its red had faded pink
Its best years were behind it
Like a sportsman turned to drink

Was there some beauty
In its stricken bodywork?
Or was it just plain mediocre
To Henry James, a Stoker?
To Norman Stanley Fletcher
Was it just Godber, the nerk?

A weather-beaten Nova
Coming over the hill
Nothing much to look at
No V8 Ford, no Coupe de Ville

Was there some beauty
In its stricken bodywork?
Or was it just plain mediocre
To Johan Cruyff, a van der Kerkhof?
To Norman Stanley Fletcher
Was it just Godber, the nerk?

A weather-beaten Nova
You’ll miss it if you blink
Nothing much to look at
But that jalopy made me think…

How would you get the parts for it?
Maybe, nightly, he bathes
Beneath the angle grinder’s glow
Twixt socket sets and lathes
Smelling of Swarfega, no cares, him, to beleaguer

Don’t spare the horses!

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