The Beast Below 2016

The Beast Below

The album's twelve distinct tracks tell twelve distinct stories — some sad, some light–hearted and some riotous. The recurring theme of small characters facing insurmountable odds and occasionally surviving forms the narrative backbone of the album.

"One of the most exciting folk albums of the year so far" — Folk Radio UK

The album opens with the titular track The Beast Below, a vignette of a nameless and timeless fishing vessel being torn apart by a squid-monster of impossible proportions. The sweet harmonies of violin and cello are washed away with a rousing, defiant chorus as the hapless crew vow to 'not go down without a fight'. It's a barnstorming introduction to the group's evolved sound and storytelling that seeks joy in misfortune and tragedy.

Other highlights include Balloon, a dreamlike story of escaping an impossible love in a hot air balloon. Brother James is a riotous tale of blood being thicker than water as a nefarious brother comes back to save his kin. Australia explores the uncertain future of a convict en route to a new home under an unforgiving sky. Cloth, Needle & Thread jumps in time to witness the first cracks of tragedy spreading through a small town following a mining disaster.

The group's evolving style sees increasingly lush and beautiful arrangements. Powerful strings swell over interweaving melodies on guitar, mandolin, harmonica and bouzouki. Voices overlap and echo creating layers of rich cadences. Both lyrical imagery and sound tap into a refreshingly complex and dark vein of the genre's traditions.

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The album was recorded in two days at London’s iconic Snap! Studios. Producer Joe Leach took a bold approach, paring the technology back to record the band live, standing in a circle around two microphones. It is a startling and transportive sound. You hear the energy and the communication between the musicians in the recording.

"With a recording like that," Leach says, "the pressure is on. Every aspect that you hear in the end result is true to what happened at the time. A band like Apples, with seven–piece instruments and vocals, has a hell of a lot that has to go right before it can begin sounding like a release. The recording required a herculean amount of stamina and focus. Small errors could render whole takes unviable. But this focus is what concentrates the energy on this album, capturing as faithfully as I think possible, the deftness, and imagination this band can convey, whilst showcasing their undeniable musical prowess."

00:00:00 1. The Beast Below
00:04:48 2. Young One
00:08:35 3. Balloon
00:13:05 4. Cloth, Needle and Thread
00:18:15 5. Australia
00:21:25 6. Tap on the Door
00:23:24 7. Dug in the Clay
00:27:15 8. Brother James
00:31:15 9. Polar Bear
00:34:45 10. Hackney Brook
00:37:36 11. Honest Man
00:41:10 12. The Escape Artist

Phil Cornwell — Double Bass and vocals
Arran Glass — Guitar and vocals
Kit Massey — Violin and vocals
Chris Rusbridge — Bouzouki and vocals
Dan Rusbridge — Harmonica, violin and vocals
Alex Scott — Mandolin, Guitar and vocals
Jo Silverston — Cello and vocals

With guest vocals
Tom Rosenfeld & Joe Leach — The Beast Below
Mira Leach — Honest Man

All songs composed and arranged by Apple of my Eye

Produced and engineered by Joe Leach
Assistant engineer Tom Leach
Recorded at Snap! Studios, 15th & 16th August 2015 Mixed at Cowshed studios
Mastered by Nick Watson at Fluid Mastering Design By Michael Cranston

Balloon

By the water
Run the river
Red reveal the song of summer
Come together
Friend and stranger
Eyes are widening in wonder

Lo where rain is falling
Still I wait
Word alone
Will you go?

Cut the rope and up we go
Cast away and we're ascending
Leave our troubles far below

Listen to the skylark calling
Singing for the love she's known
We'll sing for the love we're mourning

When I saw my hills and valleys
Spread out like a map below me
Lonely without you beside me
Oh my love if you could see me

Lo where rain is falling
Still I wait
Word alone
Will you go?

We should both forget each other
Long ago we met each other
Still the rope remains unbroken
Fastened when our hearts were open

The Beast Below

He thought it was a certain catch
Haul in the net
It's the biggest yet
Come crew come all of you
Come unto the deck
All hands unto the rope
Rope is getting wet
Heave ho boys
Heave ho!
Heave ho!
Heave ho!

Brother to the deck
This ship is wasn't built for this
We'll be wrecked

And the tentacles will drag us to our death
What depths brought forth creature so vast
Heave ho boys
Tie the rope to the mast
And
Heave ho!
Heave ho!
Heave ho!

Fasten down!

Powder load
Fire the cannon at the Beast Below
We'll not go down without a fight my lads
Carve the creature for the shark and crab
We'll not go down

Brother James

My Brother James
Has ten years on me
He's a good and honest man
Engaged in labour in the city
And he sends us what he can

And on the night before my wedding
He sent a gown of finest cloth
And I had not the heart to ask him
Why all the buttons had come off

And when our father
He owed money
To some mean and desperate men
Brother James went round to see them
And we'll not seem them again

And on a bright midsummer's morning
Came a knocking at my door
They had come for Brother James
And he must answer to the court

How the judge viewed him so sternly
But then on the second day
Half the jury men were limping
And the judge dismissed the case

And for a time
We did not see him
Though the news was seldom good
Soon the village came a calling
For I was his only blood

My Brother James (Oh Brother James)
They beat me senseless
And they've tied me to a tree (To the rowan tree)
How I always stood up for you
Won't you come and stand for me?

And now they've built a fire below me
Put a bag upon my head
Then a voice said, "Coming Brother"
Soon the villagers were dead

My Brother James has ten years on me
We are good and honest men
I've gone to join him in the city
And you'll not see us again

Dug in the Clay

The horse died
up on the heath
on a Sunday
Morning had broken the ice
And you heard one of your young
Who was calling out

Should it bring us joy every day?
Over the bracken the branches will blacken
And die away
See the moon rise
On another hole dug in the clay

And here too scatter the lambs
Who were warm but lay for too long in the snow
And you saw one of your young
Who was freezing cold

Should it bring us joy every day?
Over the bracken the branches will blacken
And die away
See the moon rise
On another hole dug in the clay

Dug in the clay
Dug in the clay
Dug in the clay my fallen friend
Dug in the clay
Dug in the clay

Here's a bicycle, white
Covered in flowers
Tied to the side of the road
And you thought all of your young would be coming home

Should we look for joy every day?
Over the bracken the branches will blacken
And die away
See the moon rise
On another hole dug in the clay

Dug in the clay
Dug in the clay
Dug in the clay my fallen friends
Dug in the clay
Dug in the clay

Hackney Brook

We looked for Hackney Brook
We broke the earth with spades
The spring entombed beneath the wreath
Of sewer laid

Hope sinks below
Shatter my heart
There is a rescue boat tethered near
Waiting until you release me from here

They splinted flint for axes
There upon the green
Who lies below the road
Where rivers flow unseen?
Who lies beneath the road?

Hope sinks below
Shatter my heart
There is a rescue boat tethered near
Waiting until you release me from here

Your love is eternally lost to me
This time I have gambled away
We follow the Lee Navigation
Along the reed bed
On the way back home
And I'm living alone

Hope sinks below
Shatter my heart
There is a rescue boat tethered near
Waiting until you release me from here

The Escape Artist

Gathering around the courtyard
For all there to see
Everyone now assembled
What matter to me if I'm gone?

Sally, I'm half-way to Rome
Roaming around
Since you drew back the bolt
You drew back the bolt and I'm gone
The night that they wanted me hung

Armed men surrounded my building at night
I fashioned a rope from the bed sheets
And took flight

Sally, I'm here in Berlin
Paid the border guards
Forged all the papers
Paid off the guards and I'm in
But send me your love I feel thin

I opened your letter in the bar by the corner
Hiding my tears as the man took my order
Sally, I miss you I want to come back
But a blow on the back of the head

Cut to black

Wrists tied to ankles
And bound in a sack
Thrown in a river
They watch to see if I'll come back

But Sally, I sank like a stone
Struggling and kicking
The water is taking my breath
So to a watery death

But Sally, I coughed up a key
Key that I'd swallowed
I loosened my wrists and swam free
I'm waiting for you on the beach

Cloth, Needle and Thread

Come Christopher come
Go down, go down
There’s work for you underground
Go down, go down
Darkness is nothing to fear
Barnsley wasn’t the safest of towns
Christopher wasn’t the first to go down

Come mother please come
Susan please hurry
See what your Christopher’s done
He took a lantern with him down the mine
Explosions were heard around twenty to five
They’re hopeful that some of the men have survived

Run, brother please run
To town please carry the tragedy of what’s become
For, of the four hundred men who went down
Twenty or so they came up from below
Three hundred and eighty remain underground

Cloth, needle and thread
What body carries your clothing from Bangladesh?
All for your bells and your ribbons and bows
Plenty of souls they still work down below
Unpicking the seams of the hearts and the clothes

Australia

Thirty days for the pleasure of the Queen
Then to sea and the journey to Australia
For half a loaf hungry mouths to feed
Hungry me stole me away from my dear

Here’a a man who will not last the night
Feed him to the hungry deep
No rest as he sleeps

Follow me follow soon or forget
For I won’t come again back to see you
There’s a frost upon your breath
On the deck there’s a fire that devours all the men

Here’s a love that will not last the night
Feed it to the hungry deep
No rest as we sleep

There’s little else for us to do at night
The Southern Cross hangs large in the sky
Many hours every day
Seven years could I like in the heat upon the clay

Here’s a night that will not last the day
Feed it to the hungry deep
No rest until we sleep

Young One

You don’t know which train will take you home to bed
Your wallet’s empty and your drunk instead

How can you sleep in this heat?
Follow your feet and the rhythm will give you
the words to the song that you need
Melody sweet as it trips off the tip of your tongue

Young one
Far flung girl
Young one
Here’s your...

World for you to bend or bow or break in two
Darkest shining lights will fall in love with you

What gives you reason to weep?
Listen the sound of the chorus at dawn is
Around you in all of the streets
Melody sweet as sits on the tip of your tongue

Young one
Far flung girl
Young one
Here’s your song

Polar Bear

Is a Penguin a Mammal?
Or is it a kind of fish?
Is it a kind of demon?
Oh it’s the deadliest threat to categorisation
Of this animal nation

Please come back to the polar bear enclosure

Mammals might have milk
They don’t lay edible eggs
A silkworm might have silk
But a milkman wears a pair of legs

I would like a little more cider
A fly would like a little less spider web
Please come back to the polar bear enclosure

For a polar bear is a powerful bear
But not immune to the rhythm of the birds in the air
It’s got a powerful nose and a powerful scent
So we follow the tracks around the back of the tent
Around the back of the tent and then back to the lair
And Aurora Borealis is a solar flare

Enclosure is closing at twenty to five
The chickens are roosting
The bees in their hive
The two of us try to cling on to our lives
But the polar bear’s hungry
I hope we’ll survive

Little white spot on a black egg
Is it a stick insect egg?
Is that egg now spawning?
Spawning a stick insect leg?

I would like a little more cava
Volcano’s neighbour wants a little less lava
Please come back to the polar bear enclosure

Is a Zebra a horse?
Or is it a kind of Pig?
Do scientists know for certain?
Can a pig even get that big?

I would like a Long Island Ice tea
Please will you be good to me?
Please come back to the polar bear enclosure

For a polar bear is a powerful beast
From the north to the south the the west to the east
And a powerful mouth has powerful teeth
And we suckle on the nipple on the belly of the beast

Suckle on the Nipple on the Belly of the Beast!

Enclosure is closing forever this time
The Ice caps are melting
The polar bear’s dying
A few of the zoos try to keep them alive
But I’m banned from the zoo by my humanoid wife

Honest Man

Dare I stand an honest man?
There’s a bottle in my hand
What became of everyone?
Will the sun keep us warm?

The Fox is eying up the lamb
There is no law unto this land
Seven slain upon the grass come morning
Evening came and six remain
Will we stay up for the sun?

Love
Open eyes
Open hearted
We are

The glass is running out of sand
Willow circling the band
The words are older than the song
A dying fall
Do no harm
Open up your arms

Dare I stand an honest man?
Did the fire touch my hand?
What became of everyone?
Will the sun keep me warm?