Spirit Box

by Tom Slatter

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    This is the limited edition CD Digipack version of Spirit Box. As well as the original 4 tracks, this contains two extra tracks, 'Here Love Dies' and 'Paper, Scissors, Stone'.

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1.
Butcher Boy 05:10
It's like you're caught in a fever Holding that cleaver Little butcher boy And they're up to their necks but is that respect Little butcher boy Say it's coming up roses Coming up sweet But I bet they'd tell you anything With you forcing the issue Tying them up tight Little butcher boy Miss Alice has dimples And perfect white skin She smiles when you let her But that smile turns to laughter As you bare your soul White turns red And she has to go It's all coming roses Spring'll be here soon As you work you hum a tune Some kind of fever Holding your tools Little butcher boy. These bitter little pills they try to make you take Have opened up doors and helped you escape These bloody little cubes you're forcing down that drain Won't help you escape from the law again They scream who you are And what you are Little butcher boy Oh the looks you'll get When they figure you out The hearts you'll break When they figure you out The holes they'll dig When they figure you out And the knives they'll sharpen When they figure you out And the words they'll spit The shit they'll fling When they figure you out
2.
Ashes 06:15
I put on my headphones and dial them in The other side is hiding behind this crackle and hiss Turn the gain up on the most sensitive of microphones And you'll hear them I sweep through the ether listening in The whispering of voices at random frequencies Scribble down what they say to me and no-one else I can hear them I can hear them The bandstand where we met The bench where we first kissed I jump the frequencies but never hear your voice Night after night you're never there never there They left me hear with ashes, just ashes They left me without you To listen in to things I shouldn't hear I am becoming translucent radio waves I sit on this park bench, invisible And all around the living dash about their daily goals Can you see me? The bandstand where we met The bench where we first kissed I jump the frequencies but never hear your voice Night after night you're never there never there They left me hear with ashes, just ashes They left me without you To listen in to things I shouldn't hear
3.
August and Whiteface both took a bow Fled to the caravan out back As the audience roared their applause They stuffed the corpse into a sack August and Whiteface took a wrong turn And met the gendarme on the road They dropped the corpse Turned and they fled But the black clad police hunt them down If we take off our make up they won't know us at all Let them swing, let them swing Come haul the rope up Let them swing, let them swing They've earned this fate Let them swing, let them swing Stretch their necks out Without their greasepaint they're nobodies Without their greasepaint they're nobodies August and Whiteface escaped before dawn Cut the ropes around their wrists Distracted guards, two broken necks And they fled into the mist If we take off our make up they won't know us at all Let them swing, let them swing Come haul the rope up Let them swing, let them swing They've earned this fate Let them swing, let them swing Stretch their necks out Without their greasepaint they're nobodies Without their greasepaint they're nobodies Let them swing, let them swing If we take off our make up they won't know us at all Let them swing, let them swing Come haul the rope up Let them swing, let them swing They've earned this fate Let them swing, let them swing Stretch their necks out Without their greasepaint they're nobodies Without their greasepaint they're nobodies
4.
There's nothing worse than silence Where are you hiding? The faintest crackle starts Then quiet, nothing These idle, idle, idle hands Miss their tasks and miss their tools And miss the noises Is it getting colder, darker, stranger? Check the power again and again Still plenty These absent, absent, absent friends Shouldn't judge and tut and think they're so superior Maybe I should turn the light off and move on There's nothing worse than regret love Why are you hiding There's no red in white noise Somewhere, somewhere You sweetly, sweetly, sweetly sing So I can sleep and forget and be forgiven Maybe I should turn the light off and move on Maybe I should remember They light ends The sun goes down She's not coming back, not coming back And all I've done is paint things black She was yellow she was light And this is night This is silence. And the voices sang and the voices sang From my spirit box.

about

Spirit Box is an EP of murder ballads.

First song 'Butcher Boy'​ tells the story of a butcher who practises his craft on customers he doesn’t like.
​'Ashes' is about a man who, having murdered his wife, decides he isn’t happy with the urn full of ashes he got in return. So he uses a ‘spirit box’ ghost hunting device to try to find her again.
​'August and Whiteface' tells the tale of a pair of murderous clowns, and the finale ​'And The Voices Sang' returns to the murderous ghost hunter just as he is giving up hope of ever contacting his wife again.

It is available as a download, or in a limited edition CD digipack with two extra tracks, 'Here Love Dies' and 'Paper, Scissors, Stone'.

You can also get it as a member of the Immoral Supporters subscribers group, where you get all my other stuff and a massive discount on CDs and physical merch as well


Here's the text of the letter that accompanied the original release:

Spirit Box is a project I’ve had half a mind to write for a few years now. On my second album, Ironbark, I’ve got a song cycle called The Miser’s Will. Five songs that tell a story that I can play in my solo acoustic set. The original idea with Spirit Box was to write another acoustic song cycle, but one that tells a story about the ghost hunting device known as a spirit box.

In the end it changed, as creative projects often do. The muses spoke, and rather than just songs about ghost hunting, it turned out that the theme for the EP was in fact murder.

Butcher Boy came into being when I was walking around the City of London, taking a break from making the world better as the amazing, selfless charity worker that I am, when I spied a butcher’s van. I can’t remember exactly what it said on the side, but I do know that in that instant the opening lines of Butcher Boy turned up in my head.

That evening I wrote a couple of verses for it, but wasn’t at all sure that I’d be finishing the song. It didn’t quite feel like a Tom Slatter song, to be honest. But I put a little video of that initial idea up on the old internet and one of the Immoral Supporter group denizens, Simon, said he liked it and would like to hear the finished song. So I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did. I think this song about a murderous Butcher Boy really works.

Ashes and And The Voices Sang are the narrative heart of the EP. They’re not the immediate ‘singles’, but I think they’re my favourite songs. The story is simple - there’s a guy who killed his wife but now he’s been given an urn of her ashes and isn’t really happy with the situation. In fact he sort of misses her.

So he decides to search for her ghost using a ghost-hunting device called a spirit box (sometimes called a ghost box - give it a google. They’re nuts). But, while he overhears all sorts of disturbing things, he doesn’t find her.

In And the Voices Sang he has almost given up hope. He is left with the memories of his violent past and of the woman he loved, but from the box there is only silence. And then, as he is just about to give up, the ghostly voices start to sing to him.

Both of these songs turned up pretty quickly. It’s more usual for me to write songs by frankensteining together parts of different songs I’ve written over the course of years, but that did not happen here. In fact I think out of all my stuff these two songs in particular might be the ones recorded most quickly after being written.

To make up for that, August and Whiteface is at least ten years old. It is of course about evil clowns who kill, get captured and then escape, wiping off their make-up in order to hide from the baying mob that is calling for them to be hanged.

The two bonus tracks, only available on this CD and to my subscribers, are possibly the best songs on this. It’s decisions like this that hopefully endear me to you, my loyal listener, but also that mean there’s no commercial future for me.

Here Love Dies owes quite a bit to the song Bad Dreams from my first album, but builds up to a great coda with some excellent slide guitar from Gareth. Paper Scissors Stone is a nice, friendly short song about using a children’s game to choose murder weapons.

And don’t all of them sound great? That’s in large part to my two minions in mischief, Gareth Cole and Jordan Brown.

Gareth’s guitar work is fantastic, particularly the solos on Butcher Boy and Paper Scissors Stone. Jordan adds some gorgeous acoustic bass, particularly on Ashes and And The Voices Sang, as well as great fretless bass on Paper Scissors Stone.

A labour of murdery love. That’s what this project is.It’s art in the proper, slightly pretentious sense. It’s a statement I wanted to make, a journey I wanted to take the listener on as a way of helping you escape the horror of the real world by letting you experience the horror of a fictional world instead.

I hope you enjoy it, because I’m really proud of it.

Thanks for listening.


Tom Slatter, November 2018

credits

released November 14, 2018

Tom Slatter: Guitars and found percussion
Gareth Cole: Electric guitars
Jordan Brown: Acoustic bass and keyboards

Recorded at Pretzel Logic studios and The Nightmare Shed.

Mastered by Jordan Brown

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about

Tom Slatter London

A latter-day Victorian street-theatre barker with a guitar promising tales of mystery, imagination, ‘orrible murders and bloody great waving tentacles’ is how Tom Slatter has been described. Since 2010 he has been scaring audiences with six albums and numerous EPs of storytelling songs. ... more

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