Pangaea

by Andrew Branch

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about

Pangaea, named after the prehistoric supercontinent, is a treatise on beginnings and ends, encompassing musical modes ranging from intimate fingerpicking to enormous, ambient rock ballads. Created almost entirely within the brick walls of a tiny two-room rental house in Auburn, AL, it is the culmination of many months of writing, recording, staying up all night, drinking coffee, missing classes, and trying to live in a house-transformed-studio.

credits

released March 15, 2014

Friends and family whose work you will hear or see:

Rick Branch / additional piano on 1849
Kylie Branch / additional vocals on Winter Bones
Will Bulla / help with drums
Luke Evans / that guy in the album art
Zach Evans / album art editing
Clay Miller / album art concept and photography

Additional thanks go to my mom, Mallory Thompson, Bob Matteson, Jeb Hunt, Kyle Hall, Jacob Hall, Tim Evans, Hannah Alexander, and again to all of the aforementioned contributors, not only for contributing but also for being generally helpful and supportive.

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Andrew Branch Auburn, Alabama

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Track Name: DNA
You left a brushfire in my room:
pictures pushed deep down in dresser drawers,
along with other things of yours,
which here and there I still exhume.
For months I found your DNA
in silver stands of macramé,
until I learned to separate the interlocking knots.

Sweet adenine, your conjured codes coalesce in my dreams,
speaking of things the weary world of day has never seen,
till your hemlock-hands slip away from me.

I’ve heard the way you speak my name: sad and strange,
and my brain is filled with lidocaine,
and lately things don’t taste the same,
and my skin still feels like cellophane,
tepid to the touch.
Girl, it’s a fire, a fatal feud, between the two:
me and you in the womb of a telephone tomb,
and God knows I can’t sing that tune,
trapped in the fumes in a worn-out room,
watching the walls burn down.

Girl, you’re telling me things aren’t always exactly what they seem.
But babe, this time it’s true: you do exactly what it seems like you do.
Ain’t a soul I know’s believing you.
Track Name: Scientist’s Dream
A rustle in the leaves, and something I believe in
only when I’m sleeping.
And I may swing from limb to limb and make my home
in the branches of this tree.

Tenebrific tadpole, you’re swimming ’round in circles.
And you may find what I did too in murky pools
and whitewashed tombs yet unexhumed:

that life is like a game, with all the players stuck inside,
and they don’t know who sets the stakes,
and they don’t know who takes the prize,
and all the puzzle pieces’ shapes are replete with tricks and lies,
and some things are decided by
a simple roll of dice.

Drifting through the trees and uncovering their secrets,
a flock is full of regrets.
And sometimes in the sweetest dreams
I stand alone in fields of green
and realize the things I mean to say.

But when the dawn comes,
brings the break of day,
flees every word I say.

The scientist is sacred because he dared to ask why,
and the mathematics prove
that if you bleed then you’re alive.
And truth, she is beautiful, but if you hold her you will die,
so I listen to her siren’s song
and try to close my eyes.
Track Name: 1849
Rolling down this westward trail,
I lit out of town like a thief who made bail,
leaving my newborn daughter and wife
to find my bed empty in the coming light.

They’ll be alright.

Well, I read it in the paper, and I heard it in the stand:
a man can make a fortune just reaching down his hand,
that California river’s overflowing with gold,
so I set off to claim my share of the fold.

Gila river, take me to the coast …

The times got tough, and it was too much to take.
They tried to work me dead or work me till I break.
But don’t you cry for me, you know I’ll be back soon;
I’m gonna be a rich a man, and I’ll be back for you.

Girl, I promise to.

Reverend said the heart is too wicked to know,
that ’49 fever gonna rot my soul,
but I don’t much mind if it’s dead and cold,
because I sold it to the devil for the promise of gold.

Gila river trail takes its toll.
You can’t save my soul.
Gila river, take me to the coast …
Track Name: Winter Bones
Your father was a liar.
He spent his nights in other towns,
and moved from bar to bar.
On Sundays donned the cloth and told
the sinners of the fire.

And there’s a hole in the pocket of a Sunday dress
where something fell through on the day he left.
It’s been long outgrown, but you keep it all the same,
as a token of that December day
that taught you that promises can break.

You tell them all your secrets:
the sleepless nights you spent alone,
and photographs you burned,
wondering if the memories
were worth the lessons learned.

And the mockingbird cries in the darkest night,
so you sleep beneath a fluorescent light.
You thought it would get better with the turn of spring,
and you beg the Lord, while the mockingbird sings,
to be saved by anyone or anything.

On the morning that spring came,
you woke to find it all the same,
in the same cold bed with the same mistakes.

And the snow that you watched melt away
had soaked through your skin into your veins.
And you cried into the pouring rain,
for your winter bones still remained.
Track Name: Witchcraft
Your bag of tricks had me spinning ’round in circles for weeks.
Dollar drinks, and something warm between the sheets …
You’ll get your chance to curb your curiosity.
Speak your spells, but honey, don’t you practice on me.

Every weekend at the bar, you would perform your routine,
and get fueled up on Belvedere and dopamine.
And I’ll bet it’s just like magic, bet you impress all your friends,
as you transform into a superficial synonym.
Well, the devil should have told you, honey; crucify him!
Leave me the keys, and you can keep original sin.

You hold the ashes in the palm of your hand.
You never missed a single chance to stick your head in the sand.
You say the word, and conjure up a change in the wind.
Love is for the brave, honey, but fortune’s favor rides on a whim.

As they were stretching out your skin in the place they put the needle in,
did you have half a mind for thinking again?
Or did the semblance of a smile caress your catatonic lips
as you disappeared beneath them fingerpainted fingertips?
Well, the devil should have told you, honey; crucify him!
Leave me the keys, and you can keep original sin.
Track Name: Pangaea
In my deepest dreams, I have seen a fault line,
the widest canyon, a great divide.
It bears not a thing that ventures between,
and holds nothing inside,
and separates the sea from the sky.

I scale down the walls and find the void waits for me.
It asks for my name and echoes in a song.
Says, “There’s nothing I see that’s not just a thing you believe in!
And if you’re what you believe,
then what will you be if you’re wrong?

“Because Truth is not just a thing not a lie,
it’s the nature of all the things I divide.
But look how the canyon closes in!
All this will be redefined.
It won’t be long—
as I grow thin, the pull grows strong—
till worlds kiss like twisted lips
in the final expression of love.”

I woke on the shore of an ocean before a city made of stone,
and I realize as I rub the sand from my eyes that I am alone.
There’s a folded white note in the pocket of my coat,
and all it says is my name,
and I rack my brain for more of the same, but nothing remains …

And I can feel the ground move beneath my feet!
Feel it scrape and slide, sink and rise, and whisper to me:
“You don’t belong! Boy, you are weak, and I am strong.
Fate is a lie, but you best believe I’m alive,
and you’re coming with me!”

If I step outside as the acid rain
burns the cities our atmosphere couldn’t contain,
will I finally see you relent,
or just converging continents?
Because Truth is a master you learn to despise,
and you learn how to fear when she looks in your eyes,
and says “Who will you be when I rip out the wires?
Because everyone is either a fool or a liar!”
The stars could collide;
I’d still perceive them as a pale, dim light,
but you’ll finally know what it’s like
to live on the other side
of the Great Divide.