Burning City

by Sweet Soubrette

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about

"Sweet Soubrette, a band that is the lovechild of Regina Spektor and Amanda Palmer, have released a stunning album, Burning City. It's incredible...It has hints of cabaret as well as indie rock but in all honesty, despite comparisons made, I'd say this is the most unique and exciting album I've heard in a long time."
-From 'DC to ZZ

"This is intelligent stuff delivered with pure intent and integrity...Bisker and her associates present well-fleshed out songs that blur in and out of various genres, all the while retaining a solid sense of artistic integrity and skill."
-babysue

"Lush, resonant chamber pop...deliciously lurid...shifts back and forth between enigmatic, noirishly artsy pop and swirly circus rock." New York Music Daily

"By turns thought-provoking, emotional, and fun--often all at once."
-Greenpointers

"They are the perfect indie band."
-WLFC 88.3 FM

credits

released 21 January 2014
Ellia Bisker: lead vocals & ukulele
Heather Cole: violin
Mike Dobson: drums (Rock Paper Scissors, Just Your Heart, Be My Man, What’s My Desire)
Don Godwin: drums (Charlatan, Live Wire, Sweet Time, Port in a Storm)
Stacy Rock: backing vocals & piano
Erin Rogers: saxophone
Cecil Scheib: trombone
Bob Smith: bass
John Waters: trumpet

Horn arrangements for Rock Paper Scissors, Charlatan, Live Wire, Sweet Time, Just Your Heart, Be My Man, & What's My Desire created by Erin Rogers. Horn arrangement for Port in a Storm created by Phil Andrews.

Engineered, produced & mixed by Don Godwin (dongodwin.net) at Phantom Center, Brooklyn, NY. Mastered by Stefan Heger at Fisheye Studios, Cologne, Germany.

Cover photo & graphic design by Jeff Morris.

Charlatan was inspired by the short story “Written” by Manuel Gonzales, which was inspired by a Sweet Soubrette photograph by Emily Raw, both part of the What’s the Worth project (whatstheworth.com).

Burning City was inspired by the book Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. What’s My Desire? was inspired by the book Henry and June by Anaïs Nin. Both were written in response to assignments for the Bushwick Book Club (bushwickbookclub.com).

All songs written and composed by Ellia Bisker. (c) 2013 Sweet Soubrette Songs (ASCAP)

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about

Sweet Soubrette Brooklyn, New York

Sweet Soubrette features the songwriting, vocals and ukulele of Ellia Bisker, whose dark, edgy love songs have won fans' hearts and critical praise since the release of debut album Siren Song. She is joined by a talented backing band, often featuring as many as 8 musicians onstage. Sweet Soubrette's third album, Burning City, releases November 24, 2013. ... more

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Track Name: Rock Paper Scissors
Giving yourself advice you don’t take
Maybe you’re making a big mistake
If you should die before you wake
Pray to the lord your heart he can break

Why don’t you do what you ought
One of these days you’re gonna get caught
Couple of things that can’t be taught
Make your bed and that’s what you bought
Nothing to lose but all that you’ve got

Can’t trust your gut cause your gut can lie
Rock paper scissors make up your mind
Rock will crush you scissors are sharp
Paper will paper will paper will
Paper right over your heart

When will you know you’ve had enough
Of running whenever the going gets tough
Make up a story that fits like a glove
Float like a butterfly sting like a dove
Run like the wind when you know that it’s love
Track Name: Charlatan
Here is how it works
Her brother brings them in
She doesn’t know where it comes from
She doesn’t care if it is true
She doesn’t know where it comes from
She doesn’t care
If it is true

Pale was too pale when she put the powder on
The marks suspected
People think she traffics in banalities
She keeps collected
Is the kid who’s selling Coca-Cola
In her spiderweb
Or is she blowing smoke
Are her predictions just a joke

Before they even step inside
She starts to write
She doesn’t know what it all means
She reads it to them anyway
She doesn’t know what it all means
She reads it to
Them anyway

She knows who they want to hear from
What they long for her to tell
Is she getting secret signals
Are they suckers for the sell
All her tales of fame and fortune
Of tragedy and pain
How does she does she do it
It’s a fascinating game

They think it’s a scam
But she’s no charlatan
She writes until there’s nothing left
She cannot stop till she is done
She writes until there’s nothing left
She cannot stop
Till she is done
She cannot stop
Till she is done
Track Name: Live Wire
Live wire
Gonna set the house on fire
Ungrounded
Like a downed power line
Little miss third rail
You’re an electric chair
Closing the circuit
But is it all worth it
Is it all worth it

You’re crackling in the dark
Spitting little sparks
Building up a charge
Who’s it gonna shock
Make your motor run
Generator hum
Light up like the sun
Is this your idea of fun?

Live wire
Buzzing with a wild desire
Baby
Gonna spike the EKG
Girl you’re a stun gun
You know you make the needle jump
Strike em like lightning
You’re a little bit frightening
Little bit frightening

You’ve got a kite string with a key
And that’s the only thing you need
And when the current comes you get
Your skeleton in silhouette

Maybe the right shock to your heart
Will make it stop or make it start
You’re gonna find out anyway
Just how much voltage you can take
Track Name: Burning City
Mustard gas and roses on your breath
You call them on the phone
The middle of the night
You’re still awake you’re all alone
It doesn’t help that much to know
They’re still out there somewhere
And always will be
Blazing in your mind just like
The image of a burning city

When Sodom and Gomorrah
Were destroyed in deadly rain of fire
You knew you shouldn’t look back
But the past it snagged you like barbed wire
You turned to salt
You turned to stone
You turned to cinders ash and putty
Smoldering like coals
In the rubble of a burning city

And how do you measure the present?
How wide is it, how deep?
Somebody’s playing with the clocks
How much is yours to keep

The alcohol makes mustard gas
And roses linger on your breath
It seems like there should be more comfort
In the truth of time and death
We live forever
Trapped in amber
Moments that pass by so quickly
Racing toward the end
Like we’re fleeing from a burning city
Track Name: Sweet Time
You make me want to rush in
But I’m gonna take my sweet time
Baby I’ve got all the time in the world
I’m gonna make you mine

Never been what you’d call patient
Pacing was always just pacing the floor
But this time I’ll take one sweet day at a time
Tomorrow I know that there’s gonna be more baby

It’s too soon for me to say but
I can see the future, love
In my coffee cup
In the morning light
When we’re waking up

I already know you’re where I’m
Heading at lightning speed
Cause you’re what I need
Try to take my time
Cause the time’s so sweet

Pause to consider this moment
Coaster’s just cresting the top of the track
Take a good look around at the breathtaking view
Cause once we start flying there’s no looking back baby

You make me want to rush in
But baby I’ve got all the time in the world
I’m gonna take my sweet time
But you know I’m already your girl
Track Name: Just Your Heart
When the sky is getting light
And you’ve hardly slept
And your hands are clenched from holding your hurt
Too close to your chest

When it feels like everything inside you
Is falling apart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart

Do you turn into a hermit?
Do you turn away from grace?
Do you turn the mirrors to the wall
To hide from your own face?

Do you turn to stone when you’re alone
Abandoned and apart?
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart

When the future doesn’t beckon
And the past only betrays
And the present is a prison
Where you tally up the days

And you can’t imagine getting up
And making a new start
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart

Tell yourself time heals all wounds
Remind yourself it’s true
The damage that you’ve taken
Won’t be the death of you

And don’t you fret that in you yet is
Cupid’s poison dart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
It’s just your heart
Track Name: Be My Man
We don’t talk about it
We just let it loom
Could call it the elephant
In the corner of the room

Standing at a crossroads
Need to make a call
Do we stand together
Or divided do we fall

Look into my eyes love
Take me by the hand
Give it to me honestly
Tell it to me true
What do you want to do
And do you want to be my man?

If you’re not gonna be my man
I don’t know how I’m gonna stand it
Every corner of this land
Will be so desolate and barren
And all the comforts that I know
No they will not help me no
If I’m abandoned
By you baby
Be my man

We don’t talk about it
Unless it’s in disguise
Only ever look at it
Out of the corners of our eyes

Look into my eyes love
We could make a plan
We could make some promises
Tell each other true
What do we want to do
And do you want to be my man?

I dreamed that we were walking
Through the city past apartments
That belonged to you
The world around us changed
With every step we took
I wondered how we’d make it through

I told you that I understood
I needed to go with you
When you went away
The still point that you made
Became the one place where I knew
That I was meant to stay
Track Name: Port in a Storm
Stay with me
I’ll be your port in a storm
I’ll keep you safe baby
Just keep me warm

Tempest will rage
Gale wind will blow
But we'll batten the hatches
We'll be here tomorrow

Bad weather’s coming
We'd best stay inside
Take shelter here
Till the waters subside

Tempest will rage
Gale wind will blow
But we'll batten the hatches
We'll be here tomorrow

And if the rain falls and the flood waters rise
We will grow fins like fish in a wet paradise
And when the sky clears we’ll crawl out of the deep
And we’ll let evolution transform us into you and me

Sun’s gonna shine again
Just wait and see
High water line
Just an old memory

Tempest will rage
Gale wind will blow
But we'll batten the hatches
We'll be here tomorrow
Track Name: What's My Desire?
Is it a sickness or is it a story
How I scribble in my little book
I write every word
In the language of nerves
And I dare you to look

Yes I’ll let you read me I’ll keep nothing secret
But all my love letters are forged
Don’t wait any longer
Let’s find out what’s stronger
My pen or your sword

Who is the demon? Who is the liar?
Who the human being? My heart’s on fire
To whom am I faithful? To what aspire?
Who is the dreamer? What’s my desire?

In our heat of passion I distill the poison
Come taste it it clings to my lips
I burn with desire
As destructive as fire
I’m a weapon a witch

Suffer so sweetly your jealousy feeds me
I am your enemy in this war
Husband or lover
There’s always another
I’m waiting for

Oh I’m wild, wild, wild
Eyes all over my skin
I’m going to hell, to hell, to hell
Woman, woman, woman

Yes I’m wild, wild, wild
Eyes all over my skin
I’m going to hell, to hell, to hell
Woman, woman, woman, woman, woman

Is it a sickness or is it a story
How I hunger for so many more
I lie and deceive
But you have to believe me
I’m eternally yours
Track Name: Homing Pigeon
Is it the place you come from or the place you stay
They say it’s where the heart is but the heart’s a fickle flame
I think it’s where you live until you run away

Home home home

O racing birds and messengers they like to face
The same direction perched inside their aviary crates
Their beady little gazes pointing back the way they came

Home home home

If you were a compass needle you would always know
The pull of the great magnet that’s fastened at the pole
Something deep inside you would tell you where to go

Home home home

When you’re landlocked can you hear the ocean beating at the coast
Are you guided by a vision of what you love the most
Like a homing pigeon or a restless ghost

Home home home