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RETROSPECTIVE (2001 – 2004)    


Long Story Short was our first ‘proper’ album, but we had done a fair bit of recording before then — mostly with friends, or friends of friends, or band members and their significant others (thank Damaris and Dave). None of these were ever properly finished (never getting beyond a rough mix), but a handful shine brighter than the rest: these tracks comprise the Retrospective collection.

The first five tracks were recorded in 2001 at Cutting Edge studio in Brunswick (inner Melbourne suburb), a fledgling operation run by friends of our drummer Grant “Wokko” Watkins. With Dean Lombard and Victoria Bramall on guitars, Joe Saitta on sax and Jason Cutler on bass (having recently replaced original bassist Isabelle Kenny), Separation Street (as we were then known) has a similar sound but quite a different feel to the current lineup. We had to record one instrument at a time (the studio was so small) and did the whole thing in two or three days. These recordings are incomplete rough mixes, with the guide guitar track not yet replaced and a few serendipitous errors (my favourite being the amazingly twisted interplay between the two mediocre guitar solo takes, both accidently present in ‘Archetype’). Everyone sings their own compositions: Victoria (‘Spoilsport’ and ‘Archetype’), Jason (‘Safety In Numbers’, featuring Jason on guitar and Dean on bass) and Dean (‘Only Just Begun’ and ‘The Great Unknown’, which differs subtly but interestingly from the more polished version on Long Story Short). When Grant left the band soon after, we lost contact with Cutting Edge and the recording was never completed.

The next two tracks date from 2004. Newly renamed The Phosphenes, we had decided to record an EP in our rehearsal studio using our resident sound engineers (guitarist Damaris Baker and her husband Dave Ashton). Dean and Damaris played guitar, Jason bass, Joe sax and new recruit John Watson drums. Two of the songs we recorded that day were rerecorded the following year for Long Story Short; the others are here, Jason’s ‘Lost’ (with him on guitar and Dean playing bass) and Dean’s ‘Running Away’. Rough mixes again: Damaris and Dave got busy with work and were unable to finish it. That’s when we decided we needed to use someone whose work was actually doing our CD, and headed to Baker Street to record Long Story Short.

The last track is another version of ‘Only Just Begun’. This was recorded in 2003 when we were known as Dogma’s Breakfast’ and were a drummerless four-piece (as above less John) with a more folky, gentle sound. Damaris plays the rainstick and violin, while Dean plays the three acoustic guitars (two flat-tops and an archtop). We hired SBS’s biggest studio for one day and recorded seven songs (including covers of Basement Jaxx’s ‘Romeo’ and The Triffids’ ‘Holy Water’). Dave Ashton was the recording engineer. Dave and Damaris subsequently did a rough mix, and Dean recorded the guitar overdubs later at their house. Another rough mix ensued, but for one reason or another the project was shelved, with just four of the tracks ending up on a demo CD. This is the only one that was really any good.

Online music previews and store coming soon

1) The Great Unknown

You say that you love me,
But I don’t know what you mean
(I just don’t know)
You say you’re thinking of me,
But your thoughts are unseen
(They just don’t show)

I get under your skin, I know
Is it a virtue or a sin?
I just don’t know, you just don’t know

You smile when you see me
But I don’t know what’s beneath
(I just don’t know)
Your face is beaming
But are you clenching your teeth?
(It just don’t show)

Aaah, you’re feeling alright, I know
But is it our last night?
I just don’t know, you just don’t know

I am the great unknown
That much you have shown
You are the great don’t know
That much I know
But I don’t know what to do

You say you want me
And I know you do
(I want you too)
I wonder what you’ll do with me
But I haven’t a clue
(It’s up to you)

I really make you smile, I know
But is it all worthwhile?
I just don’t know, you just don’t know

© Dean Lombard 2001

2) Spoilsport

Paint me plastic
Paint me red and green
Coat me sugar
If it’s fun I’ll scream

You can chase me
I’ll hide if you like
When you catch me
I’ll put up a fight

It’s no fun if you just play along

I’ll be the ship’s captain and
We’ll go sailing on the sea
With enough cookies for teatime
In the black ocean we’ll find
Raspberry jellies, an island of monkeys

It’s no fun if you just play along

At high noon we’ll
Drink the black cat from a silver spoon
Hope your mummy won’t come too soon
If she does we’ll hide (I have a room)

It’s no fun if you just play along
It’s no fun, spoilsport

© Victoria Bramall 2000

3) Safety in Numbers

There’s safety in numbers
Cos it feels so good when you say you’re not alone
Safety in numbers
Telling all the reporters you were following orders
Safety in numbers

If all the good guys were on the same side
We could move mountains, make fear a memory
If all the good guys were on the same team
All join forces, goodbye tragedy

I’ve been too long at the border
Won’t you let me in, oh some day you’ll embrace me
The place to be in society
Is no mystery, from what I can see
It’s complacency, not making history
Or even stepping out of line

If all the good guys were on the same side
We could move mountains, make fear a memory
If all the good guys were on the same team
All join forces, goodbye tragedy

And one day we’ll reach that pinnacle
Lose the concept of miracle
Cos they'll happen every day
Safety in numbers, can you say that you’re proud
That you stood out from the crowd?
Safety in numbers

© Jason Cutler 2000

4) Only Just Begun

I lived in the wintertime

 I had a long long coat but I was cold

 Autumn struck me as a youth

 But by the end of winter I was old

 By the time the springtime came

 I could see the sunshine had a name

And it’s you, shining through

 And it’s me, gingerly letting go

I lived in a basement flat

 A dirty casement window gave me light

 A distant memory of the day survived

 Despite the thickness of the night

 When I broke down the rotten door

 The sunshine painted patterns on the floor

And it’s you, shining through

 And it’s me, carefully letting go
Yes it’s you, shining through

 And it’s me, tentatively letting go

 And holding on

I lie down in the sun

 It’s like I’ve only just begun

 As my chains become undone

 And I know this is the one

And it’s you, shining through

 And it’s me, joyfully letting go

 And holding on, holding on

© Dean Lombard 1999


7) Running Away

She’s running away, she’s running away
I don’t know what I do wrong, but I did it today
She’s running away, she’s running away
I am gonna be alone, ’cos she’s running away

It’s a déjà vu I’m telling you, there is nothing I can do
It happened again today, she’s running away

She’s running away...

There’s an invisible line in this life of mine
And I cross it every time
I did it again today, she’s running away

Footprints, echoes, shadows on the wall
Bruises on my arms, and phosphenes in my eyes from what I saw
I don’t give a damn anymore

She’s running away...

© Dean Lombard 2003

5) Archetype

I spill champagne all down my legs
I notice too her legs like mine
So like you to bring her
Let her suffer your distance too

You are fucking an archetype
You are treating her so right
You have a cast of me
To fuck over for the rest of your life

She says “haven‘t I met you before?”
I say no
She says “I’m sure, didn’t you?”
I say no
She says “Oh, all his lovers look the same,
I can’t tell you from the others”

You are fucking an archetype
You are treating her so right
You have a cast of me
To fuck over for the rest of your life

(Oh honey, I’m so sorry to hear that
Oh did he? Oh did he?)

You are in sheets that bear the imprint
Of every night we spent
You are his accessory, his casual thing
You are caught in a lens
He’ll make you bend
Tell me, whose memory are we fucking with?

© Victoria Bramall 2001

6) Lost

Been through the country
Crossed the distant sea
I can move the mountains
But the mountains can’t move me
We’re nomads lost in no-man’s land
Life's a beach without no sand

Bones crack as I break my back
Pay my tax but I get the sack
Load my pack and I’ll make tracks

I breathe the water, I drink the sky
Don’t have halo, harp or wings
But I still know how to fly
Did we endure a living hell?
Life’s a snail without no shell

Bones crack as I break my back
Pay my tax but I get the sack
Load my pack and make some tracks

Got some love? cos I’ve got none
Came in last but I still won
Don’t need no bike to know your zen
Women are just as bad as men
It’s your design, it’s your creation
Life’s a train without no station

Help me find some discipline
For this crazy mess I’m in
All my colours washed away
Only troubles here to stay

Think I forgot, but always knew
You asked me to be with you
Meant no harm yet selfishly
You couldn’t see what you did to me
I was cracked in half but now I’m one
Life’s a Sunday with no sun

Life’s a light without a switch
Life’s a scratch without an itch
Life’s a fire without heat
Life’s a rhythm with no beat
Life’s a devil with no horns
Life’s a rose but with no thorns
Life will teach you just one rule
Something you won't learn in school
Know someone who’ll be your friend?
Stick like glue until the end

© Jason Cutler 2000


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