Rope Money (2010)

“Your rock band for the evening”


Album cover by Wille Westerman

Before I begin this discographist blog about the songs on Rope Money, a few words about the cover. We commissioned up-and-coming illustrator and jazz performer Wille Westerman to interpret a cryptic dream one of the band members had the previous year. The music started production as early as 2006 – atcn always take their sweet time in finishing their projects – but the cover didn’t show up at the BOF Records office until the week of release. Since that time, the cover has been analysed by a team of psychiatrists, who have officially made the call that any possible Freudian interpretation of the painting is to be considered valid. It is a great cover, end of story.

The band had relocated from the old city by the old lake to the islands, and set up shop in King’s Hammer Studios. This record was partially made at the same time as Old Hits (2008), as there was once an idea to make and album with both old and new songs. Enough irrelevant trivia, let’s get on with the show.

Communist of the year: Maybe you’ve known people who fell prey to the tormenting temptations of Socialism. In the dark years by the old lake and the railway line, the band was shaken by internal and external disagreements with those Countryside Communists that were once counted as friends. The Polearm was one of them. Nowadays the argument has cooled significantly, but the Swiss School Double Economics employed by the band rankled; pragmatism was not deemed an appropriate excuse by the young and revolutionist. Hence, a singularly dense and conflicted piece of music. The multiple, swirlingly chaotic segments evoke a feeling of distance and confusion.

Candles: The most well-known anthem. Not much needs to be said. When performing it live, the band were often surrounded by a dance troupe dressed in appropriative garb from different religions, doing an amusing disco dance during the chorus.

Tomorrow when I deny you: When Adam and Samuel went to school, they once arrived late for woodworking class because they had been caught up in a wild scheme to sell an obscure type of car lock to a local auto proprietor. They imagined that this display of youthful entrepreneurism would be accepted as a valid excuse for being late, but alas, it was not to be. I watched from the sidelines as the boys were given detention, meditated on the many times teachers arrived late without an excuse at all, and discovered the power imbalance of the world. That was the day my innocence died. This proggy tune probably isn’t about that, though.

Marked on my sky: A personal favorite of Samuel. He thinks the unexpected tonal shifts in the post-chorus contribute to the feeling of uprooted dread. The lyrics are about how everything is dark and not good. The borrowed words of Christian Weston Chandler lend a sense of urgency to a tale of lost humanity.

I wanna leave New York: I don’t know what they want me to say about this shit. Every atcn record seems to have one of these, a song that’s just stupid surreal nonsense. It’s something we at the record company always fight against, and I know that I personally tried to keep this one off the album. Samuel wouldn’t have it though, he says it reminds him of this one time in university, when he read a Paul Auster novel in an empty bar.

Fate: Chaos, madness, the sorrow to follow. The Guiness-approved Smallest Chess Set in the World is brutally trampled and crushed underfoot by the spectators to every funeral in the history of the world. A petition will one day be submitted to the EU government to have this song played by law at every funeral to come, and retroactively at every funeral that was before. We are also working on a petition to outlaw adverbs. Stay tuned, precious reader!

Copper country: In the outskirts of the farmer towns, all the little Springsteens rove about in their doodle bugs. Moonshine under the moon shine. Heroes of the badly-maintained freeways. Roses, rain and redemption. We wish we could say to the main characters of this song, ”you know who you are”. But we’re pretty fucking certain they don’t.

Never like the films: David Bowie meets Iron Maiden. Two choruses equals twice as good. This song is the very definition of post-modern stadium rock, your favorite genre. It has been played at every atcn show since it was recorded.

Latecomers: Or ”Excerpt from Latecomers” as it should really be called. The idea behind this song is that every stanza is its own thing, a short story comprised of eight lines. Verses are added and subtracted every performance or recording. To arrive at this version, the band compiled the 20 verses they found most appealing, and drew six random ones out of a soft blue sombrero. Writing new lyrics for the song has become a ritual of its own; the band subjects itself to various restrictions and experimental conditions, drug-induced or otherwise, and just go to town on an interesting concept. The results are varied but never less than marvelously stunning. Latecomers has only been played live once, and that time it included a verse that gave the final answer to world peace and the meaning of existence. Shame it wasn’t recorded.

Nine more songs, four more years. The band went on hiatus shortly after
this record, spent creatively by the darkness they embraced and the
massive amounts of moonshine and gingerbread cookies they consumed in
the studio. Next time: The truth live experience.

Best and sweetest regards,
Johannes Dalgren
Creative director, BOF Records

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