Decay

by Crooked Mouth

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about

"The majestic northern soul of Crooked Mouth squares our shoulders and uplifts our hearts with their finest offering to date. Decay is rich and mature, smelling of salt and soil.
The ocean size bluster of side A, blows deftly through the scene with an upright and regal songcraft. Ian Campbell authors a songbook of focused and intimate originality which shines brighter than so many rehashed tropes. Foregoing the typical occult posturing and other sinister themes for a genuinely personal experience, the entire album brims with the heat of the hearth. A modest sense of ancestral pride, childhood nostalgia and homebound gratitude all well up from the atmosphere of this album. Side B sees our journeyman tear off his clothes to plunge over the rapids and land effortlessly into the kind of heart-opening grooves that have made the high northwest regions famous, one generation after the next. Irish folk tunes meet post-industrial grit, tribal confidence and stirring Pacific dirge all wrapped in flannel and swollen with beer, stumbling in song with echoes bounding throughout the night and burning deeply together beneath a filter of giant fir trees. The arms of the mountain call you home."

- Clay Ruby

Decay was recorded across southern British Columbia in the years 2014-2016.

This album is inspired my direct paternal ancestors of Clan Campbell, who strove to begin a new life in the Dominion of Canada. It is dedicated to them.

credits

released May 24, 2017

The songs were principally performed by Crooked Mouth, with S.P. Haché contributing flute wherever it is heard, and guitar on the final track. I’d also like the thank Scythe Bearer for the use of his musical/magickal tools. This album was mastered, with great generosity, by Nathaniel Ritter (Knit Her, Wreathes).

“Here Come the Navvies” was written by Ian Campbell (R.I.P) and first recorded by The Ian Campbell Folk Group in 1969 on their eponymous album. I have changed a few lyrics from the original version.

Released by Shadow of the Stone Recordings (BC) on CD and Brave Mysteries Recording Company (WI) on cassette in 2017.

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Crooked Mouth British Columbia

"...the likely source (of the name) is the "caimbeul", an Early Modern Irish or Gaelic name meaning wry or crooked mouth..."

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Track Name: Decay
They came across a dark and empty sea
With hearts filled up with hope and fear and love and greed
They came to build a great, bright dream from in their minds
What would they say if they could look into our time?
Decay!
This creeping moss with soon devour all
As leaves in autumn, so our spirits fall
Barren branches seeking summer’s call
Under rain that falls eternal
And now we reap a crop sown many years ago
In this land of fog and wood and snow
Did they think this great, bright dream could ever last?
What did they think we’d see when we looked in the past?
Decay!
A land so endless, wild, and vast
All hope of going back has passed
To a beast undying we are lashed
This endless falling rain will always last
Track Name: Here Come the Navvies
I am a navigational and come from County Cork
And I had to leave my native land to find a job of work
The crops were bad in Ireland and the tax too much to pay
So I travelled far across the sea to build the rail way.

Here come the navvies, out to earn their pay
We work with barrow, plough and spade to clear the cut away
And when we swing our hammers down, with sweat all through the day
And we scar the face of nature for to build the rail way

Once I was a ploughman and I did a decent job
I worked from dawn 'til darkness just to earn a couple o' bob
But when the praties died on us I couldn't pay me way
And so I travelled far across the sea to build the railway

The lads who build the railway, we are a motley crew
And when we've sweated all day long, we like a drink or two
The local folk don't take to us, but still I'm proud to say
In years to come our monument will be the railway
Track Name: The Ballad of Kilburn Campbell
From the east there rides a man
A stranger to this land
He comes to till the soil
And plant new seeds within
Seeds of a new beginning
In the land where the sunset
Touches endless fields of gold
There lives a young boy on the rails
Workin’ hard on the iron roads
One hundred long years
Since his folk had left their land
Perhaps they had forgotten
The time when the Bruce and Wallace made their stand

But that old spirit
Had not gone from their hearts
For soon their forgotten brothers
called across the sea, the end of their world was to start
Fire up the guns! Start up the drums!
Through fields of green stained thick with red we run
Wastin’ away at the end of the day
Every sunrise brings a new decay
Fire up the guns! Start up the drums!
With your blood there will be peace for everyone
Pipin’ through the gore, worse than before
Did you know what you are fighting for?
From the east there rides a man
A stranger to this land
He comes to harrow up the soil, bury deep the past
And plant new seeds within
Seeds of a new beginning
Track Name: Shatter
The stars fly at night
Under this darling sky
The darkness of the mind
Reaches towards the light
Oh, I wish you well!
Track Name: Arms of the Mountain
The Arms of the Mountain call you home
Is there an ending to love?
There is an ending
The Arms of the Mountain call you home
Is there an ending to love?
There is no ending
Track Name: A Bindrune for You
When the rhythm is broken
And the melody lacks
Can the grip of time’s hands on us
Ever be slacked?
Or this way must we ever stay?

As a broken-hearted man wants others to feel his pain
Inside, he knows it’s all in vain
So I carve a bindrune into my flesh
Raging against this terrible fear of death
For out of the winds of the howling black
We know in our hearts we can never go back
To a time before this crime
Track Name: Farewell to Brackendale
The spirit of a place
It can subside
Leaving just a trace
Of what you once felt inside
So I take my leave
I burn what was sacred
To me
And as my ancestors once proved
It’s in our nature
To start anew...