From the Plague Year

by Sci-Fi Romance

/
1.
The sun’s rising again Across a land I thought I knew But it’s a land, it turns out, I thought we’d said “good riddance” to It's getting harder and harder to sleep As the curtains rise on lies Be they convenient or be they otherwise We tried to confine our sins To the past, but man, it’s useless See the past is never past, it’s never through with us We can choose to be wise Like we can choose not to see But what’s the use being blind If we believe living bound is living free? The sun’s rising again Through a haze of smoke and flame On millionaires playing with matches and planning who they’ll blame But on TV they say it’s fine While the water starts to surge It’s getting higher, it’s getting warmer, and it’s getting worse The signs are all around Like the worry on our faces But some bury their heads in the sand and venerate the Dark Ages We can choose bluer skies Like we can choose not to see But what’s the use being blind On an island in a boiling sea? The sun’s rising again Across a sea of brand new graves Every single one of them an accusation So where can I look for hope? How can I hope for change, With all these people putting their backs against a new day? But the sun’s rising again And if the fight is all that’s left Then we gotta wake up and fight and wake up and fight til our last breath We can choose to be kind Like we can choose not to see But what’s the use being blind If we still hear all around us suffering?
2.
Through twisting trees the wind blows cold This crawling haze it fills my soul And I’m looking down Wicked blood through wicked veins This blackened ground it knows my name And I’m looking down I say break, break, break Break, break, break Break, break, break Born to be what I’ve become Sins of fathers, sins of sons The time is almost come Sins beyond what can be saved The walls have cracked beneath the weight The time is almost come And I say break, break, break Break, break, break O bury me beneath these stones A fallen name in a fallen home Break, break, break And I say break, break, break Break, break, break O bury me beneath these stones A fallen name in a fallen home Break, break, break
3.
Hard times, they make a man grow strong they say But that ain't necessarily the case There's right and wrong, and there's what a heart can stand But they look different to a desperate man It's an easy thing to sin And easier still to do it again I may not have a lot to show, but at least At least my hands are clean A microphone can't make a thing the truth But that don't mean we don't get fooled These talking heads, they scream and scream and scream 'Cause the biggest lie is easy to believe Fear's one hell of a commodity When they don't give a shit about you or me I may not have a lot to show but at least At least my hands are clean Temptation blues… There ain't no man in a black cloak buying souls Today he makes reality shows ‘Cause privacy and dignity bring more And he's turning folks away at the door Money ain't so hard to make If you don't care about the flesh it takes I may not have a lot to show but at least At least my hands are clean Or that's what I, what I tell myself at least At least my hands are clean
4.
This will be the death of me And what will I, what will I leave behind? Will they sing my name After they lay me in the sand There won’t be no victory For this heart that beats, and hands that bleed What more can they take Than I gave with this hammer in my hand? ‘Cause maybe I was born For such a time as this Maybe I was born So this moment could be written You’re wrapped in chains and told you’re free By men with force or men who pay But I’m through selling me And if I fall, then at least I made a stand Maybe I was born For such a time as this Maybe I was born So this moment could be written I will rise I will rise I will rise I will rise I will rise Maybe I was born For such a time as this Maybe I was born So this moment could be written
5.
The mask I wear, I wear for you So afraid of what you'd do If you saw me for all in all All my scars, and all my flaws The war, the war you see in me The moments I can't breathe I try to hide all this darkness inside And keep it behind a façade, but it's destined to break And that's a chance I just have to take When the lights are turned this way It always feels like somebody's mistake Another day and all its doubts How long, I wonder, will I live under this cloud? The war, the war you see in me The moments I can't breathe I try to hide all this darkness inside And keep it behind a façade, but it's destined to break And that's a chance I just have to take And I know that I'm hardly alone In search water among these dry bones In the dark, you say it's all right But how, I wonder, would it be in the light We are none of us a masterpiece Just works in progress still We are none of us a masterpiece Just works in progress still We are none of us a masterpiece The war you see in me We are none of us a masterpiece The war you see in me
6.
A mother's voice and child's cry A heart that pounds just like the tide The sound of thunder, sound of rain A solitary voice in pain It’s all so much It’s all so much And all we are All we've ever been On a pale blue dot Like the head of a pin A cry of war and swell of pride The helpless sigh of a love denied It's all so much It’s all so much And all we are All our fears and dreams On a pale blue dot Floating in a sunbeam All we are, all we are Looked at from afar All we are, all we are Dust among the stars All we are, all we are Everything we've loved All we are, all we are Every drop of blood And all we are All we ever knew On a pale blue dot Disappearing from view
7.
My strength My enemy Gone, the days I thought I had Ahead of me My strength My enemy Work my hands have done I'm told Is obsolete You use words like progress You use words like change And grind your brothers down beneath This onward rushing train The world keeps spinning faster But where's it taking us? The more machines we build The more there is to rust, I say… Oh, oh, oh, You can keep tomorrow I don't know how to live the life you're promising Oh, oh, oh You can keep tomorrow If disappointment is all it brings. My pride My ability Though the ground may shift and change Beneath my feet My pride My ability Haven’t met the mountain yet Could conquer me You can yell your progress You can yell your change But if this river breaks its banks We all drown just the same The world keeps spinning faster But where's it taking us? The more machines we build The more there is to rust and I say… Oh, oh, oh, You can keep tomorrow I don't know how to live the life you're promising Oh, oh, oh You can keep tomorrow If disappointment is all it brings All it brings All it brings My strength My strength My strength My strength
8.
9.
Underground I found a place to hide Against the whims and wars of men it's fortified There's many rooms, and many plans To keep the world outside from coming in Some find solace in a cocktail glass Hiding fear and despair behind a drunken laugh Won't have to admit when all is lost If you can pretend the party will never stop ...never stop Sometimes the dark of night Seems to fill us up inside But when we rush to hide We guarantee we'll never find the light I knocked at a door locked from within I heard a shotgun cocked and a voice's shouted warning: "Walk away, or it's your life to lose. I got an arsenal I'm not afraid to use." Down the hall, a door stood open With heads bent low over work that they could drown in I called their names as I walked around But none of them ever heard a sound ...ever heard a sound Sometimes the dark of night Seems to fill us up inside But when we rush to hide We guarantee we'll never find the light In the final room I found a man Cradling his heart in bloody, burdened hands He smiled at me, and said "Join me, friend, And we'll never have to feel again." I backed away out into the hall Better to have a broken heart than none at all So small, so scared, they'd lost their purpose So I left those souls behind and I found the surface ...I found the surface Sometimes the dark of night Seems to fill us up inside But when we rush to hide We guarantee we'll never find the light

about

In 2020, everything shut down, and life moved online. For Sci-Fi Romance, that meant invitations to participate in online festivals, eclectic independent radio shows, and livestream events. "From the Plague Year" is a collection of some of those performances, ranging from blistering studio recordings to intimate solo acoustic performances.

credits

released October 30, 2020

Performed, Recorded, and Produced by Vance Kotrla

All songs written by Vance Kotrla, except "When the Levee Breaks," written by Wilbur McCoy and Minnie Lawlars, arranged by Vance Kotrla

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Sci-Fi Romance Los Angeles, California

Sci-Fi Romance is an independent folk band from Los Angeles that blends unique arrangements and a dark, percussive take on acoustic music into a sound that has been labeled "steamfolk." It began as the solo project of singer/songwriter Vance Kotrla.

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