Before The War

by Racing Days

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released January 28, 2014

Racing Days is Brian Engles, Matt Liles, & Brian Sandlin

Music by Racing Days. Words by Brian Engles. (Tracks 3 & 8 originally arranged by Brian Engles, Dan Moakley, & Evan Sawyer.)

Brian Engles produced, recorded, and mixed the album. He also sang, played guitar & lots of other instruments.

Matt Liles played drums on tracks 2,4,6,7,11 and a million other things on Track 3.

Brian Sandlin played bass on tracks 2,3,4,5, & 8. He also sang backup vocals on tracks 2,4, & 8.

Matt Brady sang backup vocals on tracks 3,6,8,9, & 12.

Eva McNamara sang backup vocals on track 11.

Back-sleeve design on CD by Leanne Hoppe & Patrick Connolly.

If you would like a PDF of the lyrics for the album or if you have any other inquiries please email Brian Engles at

For Thomas, Mason, & Rory.

© 2014 Hole In The Wall



all rights reserved


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Track Name: Geminids
Driving by your house
Just to see those flashing lights
It’s comforting to know that someone
Tries to keep the spirit alive
One day you’ll invite me in
One day I will step inside
One day I will be your friend
Instead of a passerby
How long ‘til we reach The Heights?
Not much gas left in the car
You waste it all riding past
Empty beaches and sad bars
Did you see the Geminids?
Did you have fun on New Year’s?
Did you ever make it out to the golf course
With your tributary spliff and beers?
It’s too bad the plug was pulled
They’ll say it was before your time
That’s just how the story goes
Every legend has to die
And fuck what other people say
Don’t try to make them understand
You never used to need a seal of approval
Just someone to hold your hand
Why you have to share it all?
Can’t we let the moment last?
You transmit your whole damn life
Like it’s a radio broadcast
So glad the plug was pulled
I’m so glad you never write
At least I know it’s mutual
These sad affairs they tend to die
Track Name: West Coast Women
West coast women fucking with my head
Always trying to trick me into bed
Then they say they wish that I were dead
West coast women fucking with my head
Gonna take you to the observatory
Griffith Park, I’m feeling like James Dean
Staring at projected stars with me
Learn their names and navigate the sea
I’ll find a boat while you just find some beer
Sail back to my coast where the sky is clear
Point out constellations on the pier
I will never get you out of here
West coast women
West coast
West coast women, fucking with my head
West coast women, trick me into bed
West coast women, your skin never gets red!
West coast women, forget what I just said
West Hollywood ain’t much like Dublin
Sky was gray and no one gave a shit
About cappuccinos or freeway traffic
Was there a point?
Well, I must have missed it
Glasnevin, was where my shoes got wet
Kerry farmhouse, where you lost a bet
Thomas St. sidewalk, covered in shit
What would you know about any of it?
West coast living, drove me off my head
West coast living, won’t go back again
West coast living, I lost something there
West coast living, Hollywood can burn for all I care
Track Name: Play the Part
On Fridays I get to play the ghost
Making the thrift store ladies doubt everything they know
On Saturdays I get to play the guest
Letting me live in a house with normals like the rest
On Sundays I get to play the fool
The bells clang as I dance, obliterate the rules
On Mondays I get to play the star
The microphone entices, so appalling is the charm
On Tuesdays I get to play the slave
They make me climb the ladder then tell me to behave
And on Wednesdays I get to play the villain
With scratch marks on the wall, but I don’t wanna kill him!
And on Thursdays I get to play the lead
Echoes in the royal hall, the spectators all left me
Play the part
Before the war
Track Name: Days of Gold
I feel safe at your apartment
It’s warm ‘cause you’re always baking something
You told me I’m welcome anytime
Show you my card tricks
You can bring some wine
But what would happen
If you were to find out
What I’m really like?
Are you on my side?
Don’t know why my hands are shaking
Maybe you weren’t part of my equation
Waiting on the last train at Connolly Station
Trying to make it back home before the day ends
I wish I could remember all of their faces
But I know they’re slipping away because
I am moving slow
She’s in circles behind me
I warned her not to follow
‘Cause all I will ever want
Is something I could never hold
And all I’m thinking of
Are those days of gold
I felt safe at her apartment
Christmas lights were shining
In a little dark room
Now my eyes sting
At Surf Drive with the ocean
I tried to breathe in
Like you always told me
But everything was clearer
Back when you owned me
I used to say I didn’t mind being lonely
Am I on my own?
It hurts ‘cause you’ll never believe me
And I think of how you used to lead me
Down cobblestone streets on foggy nights
I just wish that we had more time
Track Name: Back Shortly. Please Wait.
My coat reeked from the fire
When we stood on your front porch
Tossing twigs and leaves for hours
Can’t believe how long it burned
We walked down to the swings
With all my might I pushed you
And you soared so high above
But not as much as you used to
Everyone had gathered ‘round
But nobody had to speak
If I could just make some sense
If I could dry off my cheeks
All our hands, they felt so cold
And your voice sounded so dim
Smoking Camel cigarettes
Even though we had all quit
I drove down to Water St.
Found myself up on the hill
And that’s where I cried for you
That’s where all the love was killed
I can’t lose another
Another loses me
Track Name: Ruggles
Stumble out of Ruggles station
Around the corner you’re there waiting
Hug, kiss, say hello
Take me to your fifth floor room
“Oh man, what a killer view!”
All the buildings glow
Bloodshot eyes on a football game
I can’t think of a thing to say
I won’t let it show
“How has your semester been?
Why won’t you just talk to him?”
I can’t let it go
Oh me, what would I sing about?
And you, what would you pretend to listen to?
1 a.m. walk back home, sing blues
It’s too cold out to wear these boat shoes
Dark blue little toes
I jump under covers but I won’t sleep
Replay it over endlessly
The answers I can’t know
‘Cause me, what would I sing about?
And you, who would you pretend to listen to?
Burn the queen at age sixteen
You worry about shutter speed
So you can capture the grief
And the onlookers say...
Burn the queen number sixteen
Adjust your shutter speed
So you can capture the grief
What a strange moment to
Track Name: How Was Your Day?
No one ever asks, “How was your day, Thomas?”
No one ever says, “Thanks for your help, Thomas.”
No one ever says, “You did a good job, Thomas.”
No one ever asks, “Won’t you come over Thomas?”
Track Name: Hotel St.
Dead, my eyes are dead
Everytime I call her
She can’t be bothered
And the alarm goes
When I try to follow
She can’t be bothered
And friends, we could be friends
You give me a chance
I’ll take that knife right out of your back
It’s starting to sting
And we wouldn’t want that
We wouldn’t want that, no!
Dead, my eyes are dead
Everytime I call her
She can’t be bothered
And the alarm goes
When I try to follow
She can’t be bothered
And friends
I used to have friends
Everytime I call them
They gave me a holler
But all that’s gone now
Yeah, all that’s gone now
They can’t be bothered!
Track Name: Guilt Complex
Facepaint, boogie boards
Bike path rides, cooking smores
Look so cool, red bandana
No point making plans with you
Racing days, before the war
What were all the wide eyes for?
We weren’t fools, just amateurs
I didn’t hide, I ran with ya
Let’s grow our hair out together
Let’s let the lost years last forever
Everyone thinks that they know better than us
If I’m just marching towards the end
Well, what’s the rush?
I didn’t say that
I would never say that
I didn’t say that
... Maybe I did
What were the wide eyes for?
Just left us feeling sore
What were the wide eyes for?
Just leave me on the floor
Driving up to Belfast, Maine
I hung ‘round the Courtyard gates
It must get lonely on the Interstate
Singing all the family tunes
Underneath the Supermoon
And I’m wishing that I hadn’t stayed
Pick up a purple store-bought card
Write a message, won’t be hard
All the sympathy try to convey
Words give me a place to hide
Until I’m on a stage at night
Belting out how you done me wrong
But you always have my back
Even when I sneak attack
Who knows why you’ve stuck around
So long
Track Name: Mariners Lane
Well, where were you at twenty-two?
Wasting time by ocean blue
Party behind an elementary school
You whispered you were wounded, too
Basement, red lights, shattered glass
Tell me I’m caught up in the past
Your father made his morning cup
I needed air to the shop I walked
The barista, I’m friends with her
Inside no room for regulars
But I still stole this pen from them
So I could write a song for you
And how did the blind man know
All I needed was his kind hello?
And on the porch you wisely warned
For untrained guests to watch their words
‘Cause I’ve been known to twist a few
And you’ve been known for fists and bruises
3 a.m. come across the street
Where my family was last happy
Not one cell in my whole body
Is the same as then
And I peeled off to be alone
The place inside where darkness grows
Don’t know why I try to comprehend
You told me to take my time
But now it’s the 4th of July
And I’m throwing darts at maps
To see what’s coming next
People tell me look alive
But California killed my vibes
If I don’t have the strength to leave
I hope that you won’t judge me
Up the stairs, you tuck me in
The same room where it all begins
And I knew you were right about
The circles I’m running in
Perverts lurk by bathroom stalls
1:30 a.m. Evan Eckstrom calls
To tell me how his ex is serving
Vengeance, oh so cold
The backseat of a fogged up car
Holding her hair in the yard
Bouncer knows my sister from expired I.D. card
And in the line for Crooked Coast
Old childhood friend he bums a smoke
It’s been ten years since the time we spoke
And look how far we’ve come
Maybe something’s overlooked
When I’m the one with buttons pushed
While you were downtown, slacking off
People tell me look alive
But California, I paid the price
If I don’t have the strength to leave
I hope you won’t forget me
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do
Track Name: Buttonwillow McKittrick
Route Five
All night
Green sign
On a Northern drive
The hills of San Francisco
Couldn’t save me though
From L.A.
My mistakes
Am I misplaced?
Couldn’t hold my ground
When they cut me down
Could I forgive myself now?
Well, I sure hope so
(No, I don’t think so)
Track Name: Karen's Basement
Bumped into you by the bookshop
What a fine man you became with
All your summer reading purchased
And your cut-off plastic bracelet
Did you ever get that watch fixed?
To keep track of the time you wasted
From doing all those cartwheels
And staring at cloud formations
Did you ever get her number?
That pretty girl you were chasing
And when you see her hand is open
Well I, I hope that you take it
When those NSBie brats come back ‘round
With their little privileged faces
Are you building forts in your room?
Or do you leave ‘em bleeding on the pavement?
And what happened to your old friend
With the punk rock education?
I heard his folks moved down to Jersey
Or is he still in Karen’s basement?
Did you ever get her reason
For running out of patience?
And if she ever gives you a second chance
I hope that you take it
Well I, I hope that you take it!