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Plays Hard To Get

by Robocobra Quartet

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Following loose threads, we spent our teens brushing the dust off brick to uncover some hidden hieroglyphic. We figured it. In coded languages, we learned there were other ways to live. Born into a new world: 1990. Terror meant a new thing, roll bold red headings with words crumbling. Our normal is a world of unrest; long since untouchable West. Do you see the speed of the recent movement of time? It's been a while since liquid on airlines. Things have always been this way, haven't they? I know our life is a minuscule part of a moment in a short stretch of day. We're like whales, I think. After a while, barnacles cling and we float around getting used to things.
You'll Wade 04:33
You'd wait 'til you drop and you'll wade 'til you drown. We'll find a use in having you around. We'll find a kinder use for that unused noose, for that knotted lasso. We'll find a use for you. A fruitful use. A bounteous you. A splendid new view. But what if it doesn't come through? Everything is old news. Growing pains continue after you grew. What if you don't shine through? Everything is old news. Growing pains continue after you grew. What if this fails too? Everything is old news.
Try Hard 02:54
It's your world, we just live in it. Cracked ankle for 1860 Munich. Hell hath no fury like a scorned hopeful. A mindful wait before you get some big idea: A panacea to solve. A waiter thunders through a swing door - it wallops back and forth and makes contact with the frame for a millisecond or two. I thought about the pressure changing in the room. And I thought about the pressure we'd been under which we'd take on whenever we felt new. This is us in limp mode. You know that conservation of energy thing? You get what you put in.
Pinballs 04:54
Days can feel like labyrinths. I know it's hard. It's tough. I know it can taste like you've had enough. Punctuate my name with a catastrophe. I'm approximately three times the person I was then, but I'm twice as unsure. I caught a glimpse of that person in the mirror - he seems unready for the world. He seems unsteady in his words. He seems hurt. His seams are teeming with dirt. There was a point when i had the world figured out. Now, I do not. You guys are pinballs & I am a clock. I don't stop. Tell me: at what point did we generate this history? Because ever since our car got hit from the rear I've been looking back on impact. Checking sixes for images. He says, "Just leave me alone, pick me up where you left off." "Pick me up where you stopped." I can't stop.
Hands on rails in a regional hospital somewhere, taking the steps. I let myself get carried away there. "Where do you go when you stare?". I get lost somewhere. I get off at the wrong station - total nightmare. And now you're here. It's a strange world we stepped in - eighteen years to see through the germination of kin. Eighteen years (at least!) to see it through. It's a strange world we stepped in.
I see you steer towards the jetty. I've seen you veer towards unsteady. Eyes laced with a dazed look, mind laced up. Race towards the horizon: a headstrong turn from land to lake. What is it that motivates? A bridge too near. An oblique strategy on a dull day. But now it's real (and I'm fuming). Grabbing for a handle, door not budging. Water leaking, windows cracking. This is happening. (Get used to it.) These days, crabs pick our bones clean. It's a quiet life, I can't complain!
Chance of clouds. I'll make my bed with the silver linen 'til it's my turn to lie in it: blue sky sinking. Oh, intent and deeds - two distant ideas so tough to coalesce. An undeveloped concept: littering the road so the street-sweeper's job is kept. It feels as though the skin is burning off my bones. I suppose I'm on fire? Moseying toward that hint of a clue that occupies your mind for two seconds and then disappears (that ghost of an idea). And if that fiery ball of light decides against reflecting upon us, we'll be out of mind and out of sight. Plunged into a darkness. I’ll make my bed with the silver linen 'til it's my turn to lie in it: blue sky sinking.
I was flawless until I took a proper look (now i'm a lurching heap). High standards took the words from my street, took the words straight out of my beak. “Yeah, well... Hitler didn’t eat meat and Einstein had bad hygiene.” So, what does that mean? (Nothing). Asks for advice then interrupts forthright with a thousand yard stare. That's some disparity we've found from here to there. Most days we only make it by a hair. Sat there looking like a checkmate. Arriving late to life like a landslide, we're living in the Least Violent Time.
Ah 07:09
That's a person who takes pride in what he does. That's a person! That's a person who speaks in knives. It's not hard to dig up dirt from the archives. Between index and thumb, he's numb to opposition. Precision operation: a view to rise above his station. Precision operation: a view to rise. That's a person who takes pride. A poison heart from the start, it's not hard to dig up dirt from the archives. A view to rise. "Come on, be nice"? Think twice. A view to rise. Precision operation: a view to rise above his station.


"This record was written and recorded at the same time so there is a lot of figuring-out present in the recordings. I think it was a reaction against the idea that you should only record what you can feasibly play live. I was listening to a lot of Beach Boys and Talk Talk and realised that if you just try to make something cool, it could remain interesting long after your band breaks up and you stop playing live. Some of the weirdness includes: For one bar in Pinballs the entire mix goes through two Ampeg 8x10 bass amps and then cuts back... Blue Sky Sinking was an attempt at making a bunch of clarinets and saxophones sound like a granular synthesizer. Least Violent Time has a snare drum layered by a cat 'meow' from a casiotone keyboard. It took us about a year of playing these songs live before we could actually play them properly OOPS sorry to the people who saw us live that year. Fun fact: two of the songs on this record have lyrics about eating in a Nepalese restaurant in Belfast" - Chris, April 2020

Supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.


released May 25, 2018

Chris W Ryan - Vocals, Drums, Production
Nathan Rodgers - Bass, Effects
Ryan Burrowes - Bass, Effects
Tom Tabori - Saxophones, Effects
Paul O’ Reilly - Clarinets, Saxophones
Thibault Barillon - Saxophones
Simon Templeton - Piano
Laura McFadden - Cello
Richard Hadwen - Viola
Clare Hadwen - Violin
Maebh Martin - Violin
Patrick Gardiner - Vocals
Sean Joseph - Vocals
Johno Whittington - Additional Engineering, Percussion
Chris Brazier - Additional Engineering
Stephen Quinn - Mastering
Timothy Farrell - Artwork, Layout




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