The Sunset Park is an album and intended corresponding performance, visual and textural project created by Sydney band The Aerial Maps.  Devised, written and recorded in the period since the release of the band’s first album, In the Blinding Sunlight, in 2008, The Sunset Park is envisaged as an immersive experience, with a number of cross-referenced components. This blog is intended as an initial “key entry point” for the whole thing, containing the text of the lyrics of the album, associated images, background writing (to come later) and information and other stuff deemed relevant – including details of activities surrounding the launch of the album, associated singles and basically anything related we can think of.

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Set-up

The Sunset Park is a story told through the course of an album, a “song cycle” if you like, involving four main characters  – Brianne Sullivan, 19, her best friend Kristy Bennett, 24, Brianne’s ex-boyfriend Scotty Bennett (who is also Kristy’s brother), 27, and an ex Vietnam veteran named Kevin Pearce, 63.

Beginning in the city of Fremantle in Western Australia and subsequently taking in the wide, dry, hot, often apparently endless distance of Australia in a trans-continental journey which eventually ends up in something of Australia’s version of “the promised land” – the Gold Coast on the border of Northern NSW and Queensland – the story is about a quest for escape, a tale of seeking salvation in the open road, about how rough justice is often the only thing that some people can understand and ultimately about how forgiveness can be found in ways that might not necessarily be found in any bible.

Ultimately, it’s fiction … but that doesn’t mean these people don’t exist and that this story didn’t happen…

Don’t walk, you can always run

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1. The Port of Old Fremantle (lyrics)

the sun sets on the sea
you can see it clear from here
the sun sets on the sea
can almost see it from here

and the concrete bakes in heat
Brianne can feel it at the flat
you can feel it outside Cash Converters
converting lives to cash

you can feel it down the pub
where Scotty’s fighting someone
and therein lies the rub
such blackness against the sun / such blackness against the sun

down past Freo Oval
down past the swimming pool
his fist is hitting head again
but don’t call him a fool

the sun sets on the sea
you can see it clear from here
the sun sets on the sea
you can almost see it from here

And he’ll drink himself to oblivion
Or a version thereabouts
On pots of Emu Bitter bitter beer
And JD +  Coke shouts

Beer here oh glorious beer
Australia’s holy water:
“i’ll drink + drink + drink + drink
There’s nothing you can say
i’ll drink + drink + drink + drink
what’s it got to do with you anyway?”

he stares hard at the barman
with blue-eyed eyes of ice
and the bar bloke’s not that stupid
no need to tell him twice

you don’t mess with Scotty Bennett
not if you value your life
so just pour him another glass
and shut your mouth up tight
and spare a thought for his missus
who everyone knows she should run for her life
everyone knows she should run for her life

And the sun sets on the sea
You can almost see it from the flat
And the sun sets on the sea
It’s really as simple as that
It’s really as simple as that

In the port of old Fremantle
In Freo. In Freo.

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2. Positive Negative

to tell this story properly
i need to name the names
need to mark down the dates
put the faces on names

cos hair-trigger pregnancies
ran through her family
the way in others did the abilities
to sing or dance or the
other specific faculties

but bri seemed the exception
to that particular rule
for while all the rockingham boys
had come
the kit paper had never once gone blue

but she knew her periods to the minute
could time them right on cue
so this time was definitely different,
definitely different this time she knew

her sister-in-law kristy said to get a test
a proper one at that:
“those chemist kits are shithouse
go down to the clinic
if my bastard brother’s got you pregnant
at least they’re the ones to get rid of it”

“but i’ll wanna keep it,” she says
“you’re joking?
“maybe i’m not”
“not to him you won’t”
“maybe i will, maybe i won’t.
 maybe it’s my decision?”
“maybe i will, maybe i won’t.
maybe it’s my decision?”

the test comes through positive
all the signs are good
and she can’t wait to tell scotty
like she never thought she would

these people never drink water
they only drink coke
and she sits up in their flat at the top of freo
waits for him to come home

but she’s been seen down the clinic
someone’s told scotty in the pub
and he puts two and three together
and that there is the nub

mate she’s been seeing another bloke
i wouldn’t lie to ya
i wouldn’t lie to ya

and so it starts from here
while the dumptruck sun stays blazing
and so it starts from here
and so it starts from here

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3. How Dark is the Night

just that certain night
he’s been told
that the girl’s been getting on
with someone
well she’s been seen
she’s been spotted
she’s been definitely rooting around
oh she’s been definitely rooting around

i wouldn’t lie to ya mate
i wouldn’t lie to ya
i wouldn’t lie to ya
but i’m telling ya
it’s a lie / it’s a lie / it’s a dark night
and it’s a fight and it’s Freo

well someone’s been getting in his ear
someone’s been saying something
someone’s been saying
things they shouldn’t be saying
they’ve been talking out of school
they’ve been filling up on bullshit
oh someone’s been getting in his ear
someone’s been getting in his ear
oh she’s been rooting around mate
i seen her down there
i seen her with that bloke
oh she’s been playing up mate
don’t take my word for it
everybody knows everybody knows

but it’s not true
but it’s not true
it’s a lie /  i’m telling ya
it’s a lie / it’s a dark night
it’s a lie / it’s dark night / it’s a fight
and it’s Freo

ah but she’s got nothing to say
she’s done nothing wrong
she’s just living on the planet
she’s tryna do her best
she’s tryna make ends meet
with Scotty Bennett
that’s a chore in itself
that’s a chore in itself and that’s all kind of abuse

but the blonde man he’s a bastard
he’s charging through the streets
he’s charging past the hospital
up past old Freo jail
the blood up in his eyes

the booze up in his head
she’ll get what’s coming to her
she’ll get what’s coming to her
oh yeah oh yeah it’s no surprise
this bastard’s a bastard

she’ll get what’s coming to her
she’ll get what’s coming to her
she’ll get what’s coming to her
she’ll get what’s coming to her

how dark is the night
it brings the blood
fighting and spitting
it brings the blood

teach her a lesson
it’s no a question
fists are flying
she’ll get the message

he’s a bastard / he’s a bastard

as the sirens tear the night apart
they’re screaming in the heat
she’s lying in a mess of blood
down there at his feet
but you’re just a bloody coward mate
you’re just a weak weak man
you’re just a useless coward mate
a big man hits a womana / a big man hits a woman

oh yeah you coward

and the cops will get him this time
they’ll lock him away for sure
he’s going for a decent old stretch
they’ll get Scotty Bennett for sure

there’s no doubt there’s no doubt
just speak now / speak now / speak now
speak now
or forever hold your peace

and they pile him in the wagon
as the sun sets on the sea
and they pile him in the wagon
as the sun sets on the sea

and it’d would pay to bear in mind
and it’d pay to bear in mind
and it’d pay to bear in mind
and it would pay to bear in mind

that an AVO means nothing
to someone who cannot spell
an AVO means nothing
to someone who cannot spell
an AVO means nothing
to someone who cannot spell

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4. Salvation Road

They can run
the girls they’re driving
in this moment they’ll take that road
and begin everything

and they can clearly see the future
they can see it all makes sense
in this car – salavation road –
in this land of no horizon
in this car
where it all makes sense
in this car
where it all makes sense

it’s one-hundred degrees
in the old scale
why walk?
you can always run
cos we’re playing out an old tale
heading on to that place in the sun
heading on to that place in the sun

and you know the road will shimmy
and you know the road will shake
and you know it’s time to leave here

it’s one-hundred degrees
on the old scale
don’t walk
now it’s time to run
in this land of no horizon
driving on to the rising sun
driving on to the rising sun

and you know this time we’re flying
and you know this time we’re right
and you know
it’s time
to leave here

let us walk into the valley
though we know we’re almost done
let us never have to die oh let us run
let us be forever happy
till the dimming of our days
let us try to find salvation
on the way

and so they’ll take that road open wide
they’ll get up and run now
cry through the wilderness
in this land of no horizon
in this car on salvation road
in this car where it all makes sense
in this land of no horizon
cry through the wilderness
cry through the wilderness
in this distance we can find ourselves
and find our path
in the freedom that we know and hope
will always last

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5. The Ballad of the Nullarbor

hey
got us a few bucks tonight
we’re gonna take a ride
got a plan and it’s
straight across
to the other side

i spend a lot of time
in the places of my mind
leaving old Fremantle
leaving it all behind

it’s a hundred degrees
in the old scale
it’s a hundred degrees
in the old scale

it’s the story of the Nullarbor
it’s the Great Eastern Highway
it’s the sun rising in our eyes
Boulder, Kalgoorlie, Norsman.
Balladonia Roadhouse, Eucla

it’s the ballad of the Nullarbor
it’s the ballad of the Nullarbor

and it’s the treeless plain
it’s the treeless plain
it’s the treeless plain
it’s the treeless plain

everything is just the same
on the ballad of the Nullarbor
ballad of the Nullarbor

it’s 100 degrees in the old scale
it’s 100 degrees
in the old scale

the blond man he’s a bastard
well he throws punches in the dust
if we don’t get moving
if we don’t start runnin
we don’t start going
we don’t get up and run
we stay here
we rust
we stay here
we rust

it’s one hundred degrees in the old scale
i gotta go now
there’s the sun
we’re gotta go now
there’s the sun
we gotta run
we gotta run

it’s the straight line
border town
leaving the old town
leave him there

it’s one hundred degrees
in the old scale
it’s one hundred degrees
in the old scale
it’s the treeless plain
it’s the treeless plain

white heat
white land
white sky
white road
white hand

it’s one hundred degrees
in the old scale
with the roadhouse and
the dogs
in the dust
leave him there
you will go
leave him there
it’s a hundred degrees
in the old scale
straight line border town
Boulder, Kalgoorlie,
the children and us
riot land, quiet land
no fuss

just keep going
just keep going
just keep going

you can leave now

you can leave
it’s ok
you can leave
it’s ok
you can leave
it’s ok
you can leave
it’s ok
you can leave
it’s ok
you can run…

leave him there
go
go
go

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6. The Sunset Park

hey mate
it’s easy to think that the Gold Coast
is some sort of Promised Land
but it’s bloody easy to fall into the cracks
and you might just end up in a caravan

and i’ll give you this tip
i’ll say it clear
i’ll lay it right down now –
there’s no place for poets in a residential park
ah there’s no singing in the shower mate
there’s no porchlight Australiana
no McHappy meals
there’s no happy families
there’s no Summer Bay
it’s not hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
it’s a great day
no way

it’s the Sunset Park

and the concrete slabs and the water tanks
and the rank rising mangroves
beneath the Tweed Heads sky

at least it’s a good place to hide
for Kristy and Brianne
they’re straight out of Freo
and they’ve moved now to the East Coast side
with two kids
under five

everyone’s running from something
everyone’s got a secret or two
everyone’s got something up their sleeve
and some people have more than a few

this is no Promised Land
and when you can’t rent anywhere else
you get a place with no address
it’s a caravan behind the cyclone fence
and the weedy scraps and the rubbish
they’re piled and they’re never swept
never ever ever swept
no way
and the children will play in water drains
“write their contracts in the sand
it’ll be great for life”

and the shouts and sirens are best ignored
and the girls will watch for strangers
and look out for any sign of that bloke

but they’ve met this guy named Kevin
he’s got the tiger tatt, 5th Battalion
he was in Vietnam, at Nui Dat, Long Tan,
he’ll look out for them
he’s as clear on that as can be

he’s a hard old bloke
he loves a smoke
he knows the score
in the Sunset Park

everyone’s running from something
everyone’s got a secret or two
everyone’s got something up their sleeve
and some people have more than a few

everyone’s running from something
everyone’s got a secret or two
everyone’s got something up their sleeve
and some people have more than a few

ah it’s getting dark
it’s getting dark
it’s getting dark

in The Sunset Park

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