A Telephone Built For Two

by School for the Dead

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about

“School for the Dead” is perhaps the most misleading name for a band since the days of that hedonistically bombastic hard rock group from the ‘70s known as April Wine. Except, rather than a moniker conjuring flowery romantic notions only to have the listener assaulted with the brash swagger of a band who once named one of their albums (this time, appropriately) “Harder…Faster,” School for the Dead is sitting on the other side of the playground. Rather than commiserating along the rusty hulk of a dilapidated urban schoolyard fence among the malevolent adolescents with their boom-boxes, denim, long faces and Kelly Leak-like attitude, School for the Dead are too busy perched atop a shiny jungle-gym surrounded by chirping schoolchildren, green grass, and the effervescent scent of jonquils prancing on the breeze.

Well, yes and no. Singer-songwriter-bandleader Henning Ohlenbusch at one point wonders aloud on “A Telephone Built For Two,” the group’s sophomore set, “Why don’t I feel the way I should?” but the question is posed while a cascading swirl of background harmonies and sumptuous synths support the ache in the melody with a comforting embrace. Similarly, when Ohlenbusch opines that “Last night, I had the most boring dream,” the rhythm section meanwhile careens along like one of those trains in the final minutes of a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Moreover, the despondent suicidal characters inhabiting “Disgruntled Lover” cannot dance the emo-a-go-go but instead have their tales of woe delivered by Ken Maiuri’s plucky banjo, Tony Westcott’s shimmery surf-guitar splashes, and a boot-stompin’ hoedown courtesy of tasty bassist Max Germer and crackerjack trapsman Brian Marchese, not to mention Henning Ohlenbusch’s sardonic familiar croon. This album is a delightful tapestry of the human spirit, a sumptuous curry where coriander and cumin combine, turmeric tangoes with tarragon and a sprinkle of cinnamon simmers atop a garlicky, gingery gumbo, musically speaking.

Simply put, “A Telephone Built For Two” has something for everyone.

credits

released September 16, 2008

School for the Dead is:

Henning Ohlenbusch
Brian Marchese
Max Germer
Anthony Westcott
Ken Maiuri

Chris Collingwood (Singing on Tracks 2 & 3)
F. Alex Johnson (Pedal Steel on Track 1)
Lesa Bezo (Singing on Track 1 & 2)

Recorded and mixed at Rub Wrongways Studios, Northampton, MA by Henning Ohlenbusch
Mastered by Dan Richardson
All songs © 2008 Henning Ohlenbusch
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Track Name: Periscope
Periscope, if there's a better way let me know what I should do.
Telescope, you are far away, but it's ok 'cause I can still see you.
This trip has just begun.
Getting over it is half the fun.

Microscope, if there's a better way to close let me know what I should do.
Kaleidoscope, is there a better world than this one where I'm surrounded by you?
This trip has just begun.
Getting over it is half the fun.

Periscope, close your eye.
This is the moment you've been waiting for.
Periscope, close your eye.
This is the moment you've been waiting for.

There's no better place that I know,
Than sitting in the car,
While you're cleaning off the snow.

This trip has just begun.
Getting over it is half the fun.

Periscope close your eye.
This is the moment you've been waiting for.
Periscope close your eye.
This is the moment you've been waiting for.

There's no better place that I know,
Than sitting in the car,
While you're cleaning off the snow.

Spirograph, we go round and round but our paths will never meet.
Spirograph, we go round and round but our paths will never meet.
Spirograph, we go round and round but our paths will never meet.
Spirograph, we go round and round but our paths will never meet.
Track Name: Feel Like I Should
Your friends are all laughing at something you're saying
Maybe you're funny or maybe they're nice
You used to be certain without hesitation
But something is different and now you think twice

Why don't I feel like I should?
Why don't I feel like I should?

You made an equation that you use on occasions
A formula written so you know how to act
It tells you to smile when you're at celebrations
Or to take it down a notch when you should show some tact

Why don't I just feel like I should?
Why don't I feel like I should?

You used to be better at everything that you do
You used to be better but now something is strange
You've got to forget her, you've got to let him go
Hadn't you promised that you would never change?
All these instances chip away at the wood
Until you no longer feel like you should.

Encourage me blindly and I'll encourage you blindly
Together we'll go out and walk into walls
If you need to find me I'll be folding sweaters
If you need to find me I'll be stuck at the mall

Why don't I live like I should?
Why don't I feel like I should?

You used to be better at everything that you do
You used to be better but now something is strange
You've got to forget her, you've got to let him go
Hadn't you promised that you would never change?
All these instances chip away at the wood
Until you no longer feel like you should.

Something has changed
It's uncurable, I'm told
Why don't I feel the way I should?
Something has changed
There's a slant all over the world
Why don't I feel the way I
Why won't I feel the way I
Why can't I feel the way I should?

Your friends are all laughing at something you're Saying
Maybe you're funny or maybe they're nice.
Track Name: This Time It Looks Good
This time it looks good
We made a solid plan
That we both understand
This time it looks good
Because we promised
To do what we should
Yeah we promised
This time it looks good

This time it looks good
An oath is wall we need
We both have to agree
This time it looks good
Because you're happy
We did what we should
And now you're happy
This time it looks good

There is a time where the time stands still
There is a place where there's only one place
And we are the only ones alive
We are the only ones alive
This time it looks good

This time it looks good
We fought our final fight
Forgot our sleepless nights
This time it looks good
Because when we collided
We both understood
And we decided
This time we'd be good.

There is a time where the time stands still
There is a place where there's only one place
And we are the only ones alive
We are the only ones alive
This time it looks good

There is a time where the time stands still
There is a place where there's only one place
And we are the only ones alive
We are the only ones alive
This time it looks good
Track Name: Save My Place
Save my place.
I don't want to be forgotten.
I don't want to be forgotten.
Save my place.

Save my place.
You're going to hear something rotten.
You're going to hear something rotten.
Save my place.

Save my place.
I don't want to be forgotten.
I don't want to be forgotten.
Save my place.

Don't believe them if they say
Don't believe them if they say
Don't believe them if they say anything bad
Don't believe them if they say
Don't believe them if they say
Don't believe them if they say anything bad
Save my place.

Save my place.
I don't want to be forgotten.
I don't want to be forgotten.
Save my place.

Don't believe them if they say
Don't believe them if they say
Don't believe them if they say anything bad
Don't believe them if they say
Don't believe them if they say
Don't believe them if they say anything bad
Save my place.
Track Name: Journal of Lies
I don't believe in ghosts but I'm scared of them
And in this way I contradict myself
(No I don't)
It's hard to be smart when you're so, so dumb
So much, so much of the time.

I don't believe you'll like what I have to say
And so I'll just keep it to myself
(No I won't)
It's hard to be nice when you're so, so sad
And it's so sad that you'd even try

It's a journal of lies when it lies on the table
A journal of lies if just anyone's able
To read what you wrote
It's a book full of quotes
That you just made up
That's a journal of lies that you've got there

I don't believe a thing that they shout at me
I don't believe a single word they yell
(Yes I do)
My spirit's been busted by people I trusted
And now they can all go to hell

It's a journal of lies when it lies on the table
A journal of lies if just anyone's able
To read what you wrote
It's a book full of stuff
That you just made up
That's a journal of lies that you've got there
Track Name: Back To School
The tape starts as I'm backing out of my garage
Hit the breaks, stop, no wait, I guess it was just a mirage
It's a long ride heading down 202
It took a long time trying to get through to you
It's a long, long ride
But I'll make it every Friday night.

In the basement there's a telephone built for two
A chair and a string that stretches from me to you
There's a long pause before we speak
It's a hard time trying to get through the week
It's a long, long ride
But I'll make it every Friday night.

You're going back to school
For another year
Back to school
But I'm staying here
Back to school
For another year
But it's OK, you're only five days away

In the dorm there's a girl and she's typing out his name
There's someone at the door but she's typing out his name
There are cables in a circuit of underground streams
So she's able, in a second, to shatter your dreams
It's a long, long ride
But I'll miss it every Friday night.

You're going back to school
For another year
Back to school
But I'm staying here
Back to school
For another year
But it's OK, you're only five days away
Track Name: Boring Dream
Last night I had the most boring dream
It went on and on forever it seems
And I could have sworn it was real
I could have sworn that the light flickered on when I thew the switch
That's how you check

When I woke up I was still pretty bored
When I woke up I was... still... pretty... bored
But I could have sworn this was my life
I could have sworn I was born and I loved and I'm alive
Am I wrong?


Somewhere, someone is thinking things about me
And I can't understand why
I don't want to be a pedestrian
I want to be king
Just for a while, just to see

Last night I had the most dreadful thought
Am I the sum of the things I've bought?
And how could I live with myself?
How could I live with myself if the power went out?
What would I do?

Somewhere, someone is thinking things about me
And I can't understand why
I don't want to be king, I'll stick with pedestrianism
It just seems easier, and safe.

I know, I realize
Around every corner, more beauty lies
I know I realize
We extend our arms beneath infinite skies
Oh no, what can I do?
If it's a mid-life crisis at twenty two
Does that mean I'll never see forty five?
I know, I realize
Around every corner, more beauty lies
I know I realize
We extend our arms beneath infinite skies
Oh no, what can I do?
If it's a mid-life crisis at thirty two
Does that mean I'll never see sixty five?

Last night I had the most dismal night
There was nothing I could say that would make things right
But I could have sworn I was smart
I could have sworn that my brain was as big as my heart
Was I wrong?

Somewhere, someone is thinking things about me
And I can't understand why
And I can't understand why
And I can't understand why
Track Name: Disgruntled Lover
Well I went to a shiny diner filled with gals and guys
I wore a fake, huge mustache. I was traveling in disguise
But the juke box saw right through me, Brenda Lee was apologizing
And I muscled my way up to the counter, all the while realizing
I was one of those disgruntled lovers, one of those disgruntled lovers
Maybe next time I will succeed.

I surveyed my surroundings, everybody staring at their soups
And if you asked any one of them, they'd each say they were duped
The room so full of suffering, I never felt so at home
With numbers we were buffering the pain of being alone
'Cause we were all disgruntled lovers, we were all disgruntled lovers
Maybe next time we will succeed.

'Cause everybody's moving on, while I'm just still here hanging out
I'd move on too if I had my druthers
Yeah, everybody's taking off while I seem to be taking on
The air of a disgruntled lover
The air of a disgruntled lover

So I grabbed my book and backpack and I headed for a river
Hoping to get one of those epiphanies that they sometimes deliver
But when I got down to the bank there were people all around
It seems that someone left a note and then that someone drowned
It was a disgruntled lover, one of them disgruntled lovers
Maybe below they will prevail.

'Cause everybody's moving on, while I'm just still here hanging out
I'd move on too if I had my druthers
Yeah, everybody's taking off while I seem to be taking on
The air of a disgruntled lover
The air of a disgruntled lover

I know my name is me
And that's not bad for now
Some things are hard to see
Some things are harder now

'Cause everybody's moving on, while I'm just still here hanging out
I'd move on too if I had my druthers
Yeah, everybody's taking off while I seem to be taking on
The air of a disgruntled lover
You know what I'm talking about
The air of a disgruntled lover
I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about
The air of a disgruntled lover
Track Name: Map
I want you to show me where you used to live.
So why don't you show me where you used to live?
I want you to show me all you saw as a kid.
So why don't you show me all you saw as a kid?

Let's go back to your home town and look around.
Draw me a map.
Draw me a map of your past.
We can make it last.

I want you to show me all the places you hid.
So why don't you show me all the places you hid?

Let's go back to your home town and look around.
Draw me a map.
Draw me a map of your past.
We can let it go at last.

It's so clean where we are.
It's so clean where we are.
It's so clean where we are.
Some people thought we were trying to hard.

I want you to show me where everything went wrong.
So why don't you show me where everything went wrong?

Let's go back to your home town and look around.
Draw me a map.
Draw me a map of your past.
We can let it go at last.

It's so clean where we are.
It's so clean where we are.
It's so clean where we are.
Some people thought we were trying to hard.
Track Name: Super Hero
I'm not a super hero, I'm just a guy
And I could use a hand
My baby's acting crazy and I don't know why
I want to understand

So come on, Darling
Speak up, Baby Love
Save the day, Super Girl
'Cause I've been falling
Falling deep in love
Yeah, I love that girl but she's been acting weird
I'm kind of scared
I'm kind of scared

She's not a poker player but she's got a poker face
And i could be dealt a better hand
She tips the table up, the chips all over the place
I want to understand

So come on, Darling
Speak up, Baby Love
Save the day, Super Girl
'Cause I've been falling
Falling deep in love
Yeah, I love that girl but she's been acting weird
I'm kind of scared
I'm kind of scared

That super girl comes busting through the clouds above the city
She waves to me enshrouded in her cape, she looks so pretty
I stumble through the crowds they help me up with groans of pity
She's got the last word
She's got the last word
She's got the last word

So come on, Darling
Speak up, Baby Love
Save the day, Super Girl
'Cause I've been falling
Falling deep in love
Yeah, I love that girl but she's been acting weird
I'm kind of scared
I'm kind of scared
Track Name: Thinking of a Time
I was just a stranger in a room that was too smoky
When I saw a long lost friend singing Karaoke
All that day I had this feeling that I wasn't human
That all changed because my friend was singing Randy Newman

Later on I realized that I had been sequestered
Quit my day job, packed my car, and finally headed westward
Found a floor to sleep on face to face with a good night light
Based my week around the Bay State Tuesday Open Mic Night

And when the ladies started dancing
That was an answer for the moment
I was surrounded by my best friends
My friends, this night might never end.

Got a job in which I drove around with people's dinners
Joined a band, I played the bass, I was just a beginner
Rode our bikes down to the park to play a game of stick ball
Watched the afternoon grow dark while leaning on a brick wall

And when the ladies started dancing
That was an answer for the moment
I was surrounded by my best friends
My friends, this night might never end.

I was thinking of a time
When we lived mostly at night
He was singing like a chime
She was shining like a light
I was thinking of this time
When our house was always full
It seems we did much more when there was nothing to do

And when the ladies started dancing
That was an answer for the moment
I was surrounded by my best friends
My friends, this night might never end.
This night might never end.
This night might never, this night might never, this night might never end.