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For the Betterment of Well People

by Alpine Decline

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I got up Sold my shit Told my boss I fucking quit Kissed my family Left my friends Live my life before it ends I got away I got up I got out I got away “Rock and roll, LSD,” don’t forget: “fucking in the streets” just like John Sinclair said Revolutions start in your head So get away I got up I got out I got away
02 Through Waterfalls 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline Then I felt a drop, something wet on my face, touched a finger to my tongue, a coppery taste… no good. Then I watched in horror as the rings of Saturn fell apart before my eyes in kaleidoscopic patterns… no good. I watched it all through waterfalls. Since that day, something I never mention, I’ve been staring at the world from a parallel dimension… but good. Rip in the lens, like a tear in the screen, put a prism between me and the light that lit the scene… but good.
03 No Turning Around 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline Ruby, climb on up the stairs to me. I found a door, or maybe a window, through which we can flee our world and fly away. I found a door (or maybe a window) through which there is No turning around. Cross the threshold and whatever follows our minds are pure and we’ll be there together if it’s real... and I believe it’s real. Truly, I thought it was right. Open a door, or climb through a window, see that which lies beyond, or lies inside. Open a door (or climb through a window)... before you go, you should know: No turning around. Cross the threshold and whatever follows our minds are pure and we’ll be there together if it’s real... and I believe it’s real.
04 Flight Instructions 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline When the ground leaves your feet Don’t be scared, Try to breath. If you see a flight of stairs You must climb to the top, You can’t turn away. Wicked beasts will cross your path. You must ask, “Why are you here?” Write these words on paper cards. When the time comes to read them You will know.
05 Losing Control 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline Look at Mary... she’s losing control. It’s kind of scary to see her go. Then I saw her head swell like a balloon. Then I watched her head fill the room. So come back Mary... back under control. It was kind of scary, but it’s over now. Then I felt my head swell like a balloon. Then I felt my head fill the room. Then I felt my head drift to the moon.
06 Get Out of the Way 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline Get out of the way, Remove yourself. Do it for the truth. Do it for your health. Out in the desert light, Blindfolded tight, To lose yourself. You got out of the way, Released in the sea An ocean of stars Wash over me.
07 Inside My Head 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline Oh my baby, I hear you lately inside my head. Like a laser to a receiver inside my head. And though I kept my promises, I took too long to come back. I prayed for safety, and stepped first bravely… I went ahead. All visions fade dear, but you still wait here inside my head.
Cowards 03:10
08 Cowards 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline I don’t want them to say that we were cowards. I don’t want them to feel we were afraid. We’d so much to lose, but what else could we choose than to fight unto the burning gates of hell? I don’t want them to say these words were hollow. I don’t want them to feel they were untrue. We’d so much to prove, what else could we do than to fight up to the burning gates of hell? Cross this world with you, Holding on to The vow that we’ll see this promise through. I don’t want them to blame us for their sorrows. I don’t want them to feel we let ‘em down. God we’re such desperate fools, treating our words like jewels, And we fight unto the burning gates of hell.
09 Life in Prism
Gems 02:31
10 Gems 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline Look at you talking down to someone higher than you. From deepest underground, you better pray you’re fireproof. I see it all just like a scene inside a precious gem: What she did to me, I did to you, and now you did it to them. Like a scene in a precious gem, Ruby red diadem, Nothing will touch us ever again. You say your heart is like a chest full of precious stones: Some you give to me, some I gave to you, some are just on loan. I say my heart is like a fish in a paper bag, Struggle to break free, struggle to breathe, big flop where I land.
All your promises fall way too short And all your apologies are way too long You forgot to say what you think about me You forgot to say the remedy So now, how am I supposed to be the same way? Strange how this chemistry just dissolves away All my boundaries, my point of view I forgot to be what I called myself I forgot it, and then I lost it So now, how am I supposed to be the same way?
12 Too Long Away 作曲:Alpine Decline 作词:Alpine Decline Today the sun feels warm and I accept that all these dreams are too heavy. Today I rest from struggling to reconcile my heart and my body. Too long away from you. Too long away from you. Is my memory disintegrating, baby, or does it still come through to you like flickering light cross the TV screen when you close your eyes? Turning from the Milky Way I gazed into the darkness beyond us. Distances expanded and I saw that we could never get close again.


“God we’re such desperate fools, treating our words like jewels, and we fight unto the burning gates of hell.”

Alpine Decline speaks from the other side of the deep on their starkly gorgeous new album, For the Betterment of Well People, their tenth in a decade. Carefully loaded with concise, penetrating alt-pop tunes, it’s an airy glide across choppy waters, a hard-earned lesson glimpsed dimly from the bottom of a very deep well.

Fans of the band will note their continual creep toward sweetening the sometimes bitter pill of their ever crypto-autobiographical dispatches. For the Betterment of Well People’s lavish instrumentation honeys the ear immediately — Wurlitzer, organ, 12-string guitar, singing bowl, and an extended percussion section combine to smooth out some of the rougher edges that have crawled and crackled over previous slabs of Alpine Decline wax. But it’s groovy in only dubious ways — an approximation of earthy warmth piped in to a cold steel spacecraft charting an unknown course toward oblivion. It’s warped like vinyl roasting in the trunk, waves like a lone surfer slanting against the churn, dimly perceived through an ungodly heat shimmer baking off the blacktop. The band’s core exists here primarily as a fucked up, non-human force deforming the otherwise warm, sunny LA vibe they carefully constructed.

For the Betterment of Well People isn’t a Covid album, but Alpine Decline has championed a bunker-to-summit approach throughout their career and personal lives. Their new one is literal memoir, an accounting of the personal and creative travails they’ve pushed themselves through over a decade of climbing over the eponymous mountains and walking into the desolate unknown, blindfolding themselves and dropping two tabs of acid, forcibly, painfully prying open the door to more perception, reporting back. It’s always been about creating big interior stratospheres for the bunker class. The lighting’s better, the air is sweeter, but we're still deep underground.

The production of For the Betterment of Well People neatly reflects this phantasmagoric duality. Longtime band collaborator Yang Haisong trekked from gray Beijing to blue-skied Van Nuys. There he matched up with LA scene stalwart Matthew “Linny” Linesch — known for his work with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, among others — to co-produce. The caricature-like strangeness of this brooding, poetic figurehead of the Beijing post-punk scene drinking in the solar overload of LA translates to tape, which was laid down with an almost urgent efficiency: tracking for a six-piece band, vocals, overdubs, and mixing was knocked out in a vaporous, occasionally lysergic 11-day marathon.

The end result is a collection of tracks that feel more like a still frame from a movie, or a memory traced from the last seconds of a quickly escaping dream, than a work of poetry or literature. It’s a diaristic panoply of images and feelings cascading toward a mix of hope and unease, superficially pleasant pop songs that are ultimately about the remote loneliness and remorse of having gone out too far and finding you may not be able to get back. It’s both an illness and a remedy, a holistic cure for uncertain futures decocted from the crushed dust of mountains already climbed.

“I hope people catch the message that it is through adopting a process of ritually altering your life - through any door - that you can better yourself and break beyond a reality that, frankly, is crushing all of us right now.” — Alpine Decline


released January 22, 2021


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