2004's Key follows an impressive debut (the Oh, Holy Fools split with Bright Eyes) and 2001's Euphemystic. The new backing band comprised of Corey Broman (drums), Daniel Knapp (keyboards), Erika Pederson (bass), and Dylan Strimple (guitar) provides a solid foundation that builds upon Joe Knapp's eccentric songwriting. The eclectic style of Son Ambulance has the underlying vibe of classic pop songwriters like Elvis Costello and Jackson Browne, all while taking the listener to the other side of town, the other side of the world, never-never land, and everywhere in between. By turns, Key goes from maniacally clipping out the mastering board in a moment of psychedelic frenzy, to the dreamy guest vocals of Jenna Morrison floating up through the floorboards of your apartment, to proving that a Saturday Night Live saxophone solo and a guitar line reminiscent of Manchester's finest can fit comfortably, and somehow logically, on the same album. Lyrically vivid, musically rich, structurally mature, and sexually frustrated, Key presents the perfect soundtrack for Fall.
released October 26, 2004
2004 Saddle Creek
Recorded, mixed, engineered by AJ Mogis at Presto!
with preliminary tracking by Mike Mogis
written and produced by Joe Knapp
Corey Broman - drums
Daniel Knapp – piano, keyboards
Joe Knapp – vocals, guitar
Erica Petersen – bass
Thanks to everyone who helped create:
Paper snowflakes, they don’t melt in the sunshine. Plastic roses won’t wilt, they’ll be alright. Paper snowflakes don’t melt in the sunshine, glass tears won’t try. And they don’t dry.Staircases climb in my heart of steel. Christmas caress, a sentiment I can’t feel. Touch me again, soft against the stars door, pale. They just shine so sweet.Paper snowflakes, they don’t melt in the sunshine. Plastic roses won’t wilt, it’ll be alright. Paper snowflakes don’t melt in the sunshine, and glass tears don’t dry. NOnononononononononoChoreographed acrobats go swimming through my mind as I lay down to nap. Wheels grind, on concrete I collapse. As I fall, as I fall asleep.Paper snowflakes, they don’t melt in the sunshine. Plastic roses won’t wilt, he’ll be alright. Paper snowflakes don’t melt in the sunshine, and glass tears don’t dry.Paper snowflakes, they don’t melt in the sunshine. Plastic roses won’t wilt, it’ll be alright. Paper snowflakes don’t melt in the sunshine, and glass tears don’t dry.Glass tears won’t try.
Track Name: Billy Budd
You came by yourself, but you left in a train. Following close to whatever is in front of you. Rails lay in their beds from Boston to Maine. And they trick themselves, dream about waking up. So we fold like paper. Into a desk’s top drawer, something I was writing. Into a tunnel’s dark mouth, the boxes have disappeared. And we laughed out loud for each one we never opened.
So now the poets can guess at what we might have had. For all their loveliness, my page is still just snow. And I follow your footprints, fill buckets with tears. With that hot water, I will make tea for you. ‘Cause now you say that you’re sick, but I think you’re just bored with my jumbled words so inarticulate, your inattentiveness.
But I told you one time we were two twisted vines, green and inseparable. That sturdy of a weave it just isn’t possible. So I will change my name, you can pretend you never knew me. And we’ll fill up our floors with the discarded clothes. A skirt pulled from under my bed, something I loved on you. Can you tell by my face, because I think that it shows? It is confusing here, feels like I’m in a fog.
Track Name: Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll, the deep sea green ballet
Once I did watch delighted and then I fell in.
April’s tendrils, she crawls through grassy fields
To form a crown of crocuses, a paper crane.
It’s an unfolding parade, an unbeatable cascade
And it’s going fast from the factory labor privy
to the blackmailers. A real good cause I guess
I’m blessed. I’m answered. Cancelled appointments
I could have braved. Call in sick for my big fake
while I’m, while I’m well awake. Chlorophyll.
The statix always playing, nothings going on.
Nothing’s going wrong with my privacy fence.
With our liquid suspense. In the carnival clarinets
From the underground pageant.
Track Name: Sex In C Minor
Found my love in a lock of hair. Quick key set, now she’s changing guard again. Tip my glass to the Range Rovers shaking their heads, wicks to burn it in. Compassionately, oh you’re lashing out my deepest depth of relationship. Made that bed, now get in it. Bedroom has been barren for some audience stolen away, my spotlights out for all your applause. Just get in back of my black hearse. I’ll drive you till you don’t know where you—I reach my voice across the universe tight. Alright now, I’ll write more hits for everyone. We’ll have our legs all tangled up. Come on, no you’re going to fuck us over my way. It’s the American way.
It’s everything we’re going through. Scream it at cathedral walls, drips down the fucking diary text. Find out what this turns into when there’s no one to come next.
Once general of wooden men flipping through the dusty record binge, you’re just spinning my sex. Did that drunken ministry shit, prayers half-slurred the borders of my irony. I’m just being your self, always looking over my own shoulder at the bench of a Wurlitzer. Hammer strong and swift and pure, heart so true and feet so sure. You could go effortlessly, it’ll get you. I’m shaking off the bullshit trend. If you’d stop meddling, always pedaling your--whatever comes about. Come on, let’s dance. Come on, I want it. Twist it. Shout! Work it out! Cause I’m kicking it, screaming: breach into that secret heart. Feel that precious poetry. You know what you’re going through. It’s just something I had to do. Rapping at your chamber door, naked as when I was born. Finding out what this turns that into. Dying to be what I’m becoming, strumming loud, mumbling proud. Something!
So I am so quiet, quiet, quiet. Oh! See who I let go! (Betrothed to death)
Track Name: C Minor Interlude
I’ve got you hanging from a thread. And it’s time to cut the string. You ‘re gonna have to fight this floor alone. That’s the pang of being freed.
Track Name: House Guest
“A House Guest at 3:25 AM” Scene Two: your guest room by my cruel self. Mirror, mirror which side are you on? I’m wet behind the ears and listening. I’m only explaining how to be aloof. With eyes ajar and out the door, and down the block he’s lighting up a cigarette. A stranger passing by and saying, with every year we stack we trick our legs to climb a flight of weary steps until April, May, then June, July, and in August off our feet we are swept. I’m only touching down for a second to tell you all I’ve been to Lincoln. Another year went by; it tripped my legs. I’m numb below the waist and tingling, numb below the waist and tingling. You’re gone to the other shore, high in the afternoon. Clouds, Klimt, your upside-down desires, unraveled. She sails upon a sigh. Her tail with bows tied. Hold the spool and let her fly. You can’t keep the wind; you just keep billowing. At last the courts dismissed my sad account. The wrong side streets I’ve been taking to go to town. And heart-aches caught in tangled trees are finally relieved.
Track Name: Taxi-Cab Driver
Cab driver, won’t you take my girl for a ride? She’s a survivor, still got so much love locked up inside. She loves to lose the foolish games with heart-breaker rules. She’s a martyr of the senior class. She’s gonna stick it through.
Like Albert Einstein or some kid you don’t know, she used to laugh at your jeans. You were the chess game I thought better unwon. You won the war inside of me. Needed to explain so I turned down some Coke. Visit your job on Thirteenth Street.
And soon I’ll be walking outside. Feeling your self come alive! A thumb stuck up off the side of the interstate. Hitchhiker, you’d better jump in the car. Don’t be such a stranger, now. We know we could go real far.
Like Albert Einstein or some kid you don’t know, she used to laugh at your jeans. You were that chess game I thought better unwon. You win the war inside me. I could not explain why I turned out so cold. I turned myself in on Thirteenth Street.
Soon we’ll be rising, sinking, feeling like falling out of love again. No more kissing you on the sly, watching cars pass us from the right. She don’t care where each one goes, cause she’s got symphonies to compose. Maybe I was just a melody. Who knows?
Track Name: Case Of You/Wrinkle. Wrinkle
In a wasteland for strangers I sought advice from a friend. And he cast his dreams upon me: try and catch a comet in a net. While I was stranded in this high school kiss, you kept like honey to my lips. But did you really want that station, if it means you have to die, if it means getting off the ride. Well I forgot to worry because you made a case for me to sing. I thank you. Splash water on my face. A mirror makes a map to trace. The lines escape my razors paint, pastoral scenes replaced. Soon those distant planets in your kaleidoscope…you’d cross the sky to tie a scarf around my neck. And you love to ride electric trains and go or stay till you’re back there before I can’t run away like that ever again. I forgot to worry now you made
Track Name: Glitter Angel
High above the city counting pedestrians
Butterfly pinned to Styrofoam
I’m going downtown
City’s an ant farm