The Great Pretend

by Should

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about

The Great Pretend is Should's fourth album and the first since 2011's Like a Fire Without Sound — a gentle but idiosyncratic collection of dream pop that marked the Baltimore band's return from a 13-year hiatus. That same year, Captured Tracks reissued Should's 1995 debut A Folding Sieve in an expanded form as the inaugural release of the label's Shoegaze Archive Series, which has since included reissues by Medicine and For Against.

Throughout its 11 songs, The Great Pretend demonstrates that Should has flourished creatively in the interim. While still informed by their shoegaze and dream pop roots, the album twists and turns, subverting expectations.

The mono-chord, krautrock groove of the opener "Don't Send Me your Regrets" gives way to elegant, lush pop of "Loveless Devotion" - only to morph abruptly into an endless refrain atop heavy toms and buzzing guitars. The strident guitar and emphatic drums of "Mistakes are Mine" turns on a dime to an orchestrated, drumless bridge.

But the album is still stamped with Should's signatures: Marc Ostermeier and Tanya Maus' harmonies on "In Monotone" and "A Lonely Place" and the churning shoegaze wash of "Dalliance," which harkens back to the band's debut and will no doubt be relished by longtime fans.

The starkest contrasting hues of Should's expanded songwriting palette lie between the unabashed Factory post-punk tones of "Amends" and "Don't Get To Know Me," a 3/4-time piano vamp embellished with increasing layers of orchestration as the album closes.

credits

released March 25, 2014

Marc Ostermeier : instruments + vocals
Tanya Maus : vocals
Sara Ostermeier : bells on Don't Get To Know Me

All songs written and recorded by Marc Ostermeier
except Loveless Devotion written by Nik Brinkman and Bevan Smith

Published 2014 Words On Music
except Loveless Devotion published by Blackwood Music and Native Tongue America

Cover art by William Keckler

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Track Name: Don't Send Me Your Regrets
Oh no don’t send me your regrets
Don’t fill the air with such nonsense
If you would like to make amends
Then you must take us back in time
But since you can’t then let’s just end this whole unbearable charade

Oh no don’t send me your regrets
Oh no don’t send me this no more
Track Name: Mistakes Are Mine
I stayed awake that night and swore
You’d be inside my head no more
Your vanity’s a certain crime

As days of wine and roses fade
Destined to haunt till end of days
These things don’t matter much ‘til I
Find out that all mistakes were mine

You know how I am prone to miss
The simplest and the obvious
It does no good to try and remind
I’ve done myself quite in this time

And yet, you were never phased
How could you not detest this change?
That’s when I let go the lie
Found out that your mistakes were mine

The mistakes were mine
The mistakes were mine
The mistakes were mine

I viewed your subtle move to beguile
As just a vain attempt at style
The dark is captured best with my
My camera’s shortest shutter time

And yet, you were never phased
How could you not detest this change?
That’s when I let go the lie
Found out that your mistakes were mine

The mistakes were mine
The mistakes were mine
The mistakes were mine
Track Name: In Monotone
All throughout the night
The world was all alight
It was as if the stars had fallen down
And taken flight

You and I would be
I made this guarantee
You think those words have lost their meaning now
I disagree

Stand on our headstone
Though features all are worn
You’ll see the dates go on and on and on
In monotone
You’ll see the dates go on and on and on
In monotone

Afternoons on telephones
And late night walks by light of moons
Is this so hard to understand?
Or have you just decided to be cruel?

Ridiculing all the fools and
Bending, breaking all the rules
Well, I refuse to let it go
So watch me now as I untie this rope

This is melancholy, dear
Melancholy, dear
Melancholy, dear
Track Name: Down A Notch
I’m uniformed and I almost missed the end
Is this true? Is this true?
Or have I misconstrued?
It’s hard to read between the lines when you’re like this
What do you mean? What do you mean?
Do you have to be like this?

If you’ve got all the answers
I’d love to hear just one of them
I’m sure you would not be worse for wear
If you’ve got all the answers
Just share with me the smallest one
The smallest pearl from you is something rare

Hold your thoughts; you don’t know just what you’ve said
You take it back; You take it back
Back inside the box
Then take it out into the field where it was born
Leave it there; Leave it there
Stop standing on my heart

If you’ve got all the answers
I’d love to hear just one of them
I’m sure you would not be worse for wear
If you’ve got all the answers
Just share with me the smallest one
The smallest pearl from you is something rare
Track Name: Everybody Knows
Stay on point but not on task
No questions ever asked
With the colors of our past
We lack skills to make it last

Find a flight that hasn’t flown
And a path not set in stone
And we think it’s what we own
But everybody knows

Oh we’re on fire
Oh we’re on fire
Come on watch us burn

Oh we’re on fire
Yes we’re on fire
(We’re) burning in the sun

Oh let us burn
Oh let us burn
Burning in the sun

Oh let us burn
Burn like the sun
Every night (alone)

Pull the strings to animate
Play the game as if it’s straight
Up all night but not awake
We all make the same mistake

Seen so many times before
Abandoned on the floor
Independence we adore
But it’s too much of a chore

and you think it’s final
and you think it’s final
Track Name: Dalliance
And he left her standing there
A final picture, one last stare
Yes, he thought he’d done no harm

If this was all on just a whim
Why suffer through all that again?
And so he held his head up high

And so she let him wander off
This greatly simplified her thoughts
Does this mean they don’t belong?

She cared not much for second chance
Thus ended their brief dalliance
Was it best? Well, who’s to know?
Track Name: A Lonely Place
If I ask myself the simplest
He’ll debate me to no end
“Isn’t that the same for everyone?”
You don’t understand my point

Gonna find myself a lonely place
One with sunlit grass, scattered trees
Wind beneath the waves

As you start to climb the infinite
I’ve got one more thought to add
Consider just the scale you’re up against
Why’d you even take a step?

Gonna find myself a lonely place
One with sunlit grass, scattered trees
Wind beneath the waves

Gonna find myself a lonely place
One with sunlit grass, scattered trees
Wind beneath the waves
Track Name: Amends
My favorite to condescend
Let’s leave this house and go
These people here; I’m at wits end
They buzz my mind with the snow

Don’t wait for it
Don’t wait for him
Don’t wait for it

I don’t understand what’s taking you
Why must you be so slow?
We have this chance but not for long
It’s time to grab and go

Glory day Glory day Glory day

Wait
I want you to stay
I don’t want to change
I’m losing my name

Stay
Why can’t you just stay?
I want you to change
I’m losing my name

If this new false reality
Is what you call amends
I can’t accept your empty words
Or all their false pretense

Don’t wait for it
Don’t wait for him
Don’t wait for it
I’ll wait for a sign

Glory day Glory day Glory day

Stay
Why can’t you just stay?
I don’t want to fade
I’m losing my name
Track Name: Gold Stars
I wonder what’s become of all your cardboard paper dolls and clothes
And if you still have all your gold stars

That once shown bright
That fade at night
And drift from sight
Are you all right?

You hurry on; you have so little time; the background noise is loud
But in between I’m hearing your voice

It’s still so bright
Even at night
Far out of sight
You’ll be all right
Track Name: Don't Get To Know Me
If you must remember this
I’m only on the cusp of it
I don’t know why I am here
I feel so out of place

If you had a single thought
That might be seen as negative
I’ll bet it was honest
The subject was surely me.

Understand that I was taught
To tuck my thoughts and prayers away
I saved them for someone
and kept them from me

I haven’t had the kind of life
To place upon a pedestal
Don’t lock steps beside me
I surely will drag you down, down, down, down

Oh, don’t get to know me
Let’s all stay lonely

All you ever have to do is break a smile
To take my breath away
My defenses are nothing
When you come around

I haven’t had the kind of life that leads itself
To fame or high regard
Don’t lock steps beside me
I surely will drag you down

Oh, don’t get to know me
Let’s all stay lonely