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The Gears of Change

by Escape the Clouds

Verse 1 Don't confuse us for no sailors, We don't dress in pretty whites. We're engineers through and through And we don't need no damn sunlight The props keep spinnin' all day long Thanks to what we do down below. There's no room for poster boys Down here in this fiery hole. Chorus We shovel coal all day here in the belly of this flying man o' war. The Captain doesn't know our names, but without us he won't be getting far. If the fires ain't fed and the pressure don't rise the cannons ain't worth a horse's ass. All that glory off the bow rides on the backs of boiler snipes, third class! Verse 2 We love these boilers like a mother Loves her misbehaving lad. Don't trust 'em when they're running right And smack 'em if they're acting bad. We fly the world end to end But our only view is fire and steel. We keep the steam building up So we don't scratch our precious keel. Chorus Verse 3 We're not rats in a cellar Despite what the Captain believes. If he doesn't think to treat us right, We've got some tricks up our sleeves. Cut our food, we'll chop the speed. Cut our leave, we'll foul the screws Cut our pay, we'll snuff the boilers. It's a battle he's sure to lose. Chorus x 2
Weigh Off 04:07
Verse 1 Welcome aboard, please watch your head. Take a seat wherever you’d like. No judgment here, at this midnight hour. Your worries can’t be seen in the night. Leave space for your neighbors, as you’d like for yourself. All these thoughts leave little room to spare. Did you feel as if you were alone? We’ve all felt heavier than air. Chorus If we cling to our burdens, we’ll never take flight And remain here as we always were. The past is never as heavy as it seems And its lessons keep us upright in turn. Verse 2 The boilers have built up a head of steam, And the captain’s given us a go. It’s up to you what we do now. Do we stay or find where the winds blow? Whatever happened, before tonight, It’s you who arrived on your own. A journey’s first steps are often the bravest, And exact the greatest toll. Chorus Bridge Wherever we go… it’s time to get started! New lands below… all of them uncharted! Feel the engines rumble beneath your feet. Snatch victory from the cloud of defeat. It’s all just ballast. Strike your balance. Chorus x 2
Verse 1 You rode into office atop votes and voices And the hope that you might make some decent choices Now our system's broken worse than ever before. And the ones that are paying are those on the ground floor. Chorus Your political game is just a crying shame. Everything you do is just to dodge the blame Real people hurt by your fake talk Do your damn job or we'll fire you all. Verse 2 I'm not just a worker. I'm a person with dreams. Doing my best to live within my means. You depend on us, but can we depend on you? We do our jobs. Do we need to do yours too? Chorus Bridge I'm just a working man trying to get along. But I'm smart enough to know we need some dialogue. Sometimes we lose and sometimes we win. But if the game was fair we can't complain. If life doesn't give me what I want I won't steal from you and tell you it's your fault. Chorus
On the Edge 03:11
Verse 1 We're lonely in the crowd around us, Eyes drawn to our devices. Drowning in digital noise. We talk without conversation. Listen but don't pay attention. Forgetting how to use our voice. Chorus We're standing on the edge of a world, Where the future comes far too soon. We can't forget to simplify Or we'll lose the meaning in our lives Verse 2 Telegraph, then telephone Airmail then radio We shrank the globe But put so much space between us We travel the world so easily Expand ourselves intellectually But never learn how to love and trust Chorus Solo Bridge Unaffected / Uncorrected Socially Disconnected This will ruin us all This lapse of logic / Tragically comic Ignorant and so ironic We run towards our fall Chorus x 2
Verse 1 11:35 in the morning and you're walking to the train. The paper says it's just another day but the air doesn't smell the same. A benevolent voice echoes across the square, echoing benevolent lies... As uniformed men wash down the streets where the voice of freedom died. Chorus You stand for what you believe in. You stand for what you love. You stand for those who've had enough. Verse 2 The Earth shakes beneath the thunder of approaching wheels. You wonder how a people can stand when they've been only taught to kneel. You hold your ground and face their armor and their smoking guns. No one will ever know your name, but you're the voice of everyone. Chorus x 2 Bridge x 2 One single light in the shadow of aggression. One voice of reason. One little revolution. Chorus x 2
Sixteen Tons 02:26
Verse 1 His hands once worked a mine in the lowlands. They now clutch the scarred stock of a loaded bolt-action. Twenty-six year old eyes that have seen a hundred men die Can’t blink away the horrors he’s seen on the line. The artillery brackets the trenchlines around him. Cries of gas and fire can’t pierce the ring of ears deafened. He volunteered on a promise that it would all mean something And still he clings to that hope even as the Earth’s trembling. Chorus So we stand! (So we fall….) For a nation that calls us to its defense. (For the fortunes and hubris of prideful old men) So we fight! (So we die….) To shield our families from the oncoming dark. (For doddering, lying fools wasting our lives on their lark) Verse 2 At 4pm, the guns cease their bombardment And out of the smoke storm hordes of armed men. With his fellows he sights and fires as true as he can. Aiming to hold to the very last man. Shrapnel and blood spatter the sandbags around him. Flamethrowers leave bones and uniforms smoldering. Fixed bayonets run through broken men’s hearts As their line bends and cracks and crumbles apart. Chorus Verse 3 They need help but there’s no one coming. The colonel in the rear must be warned what’s in the offing. The soldier volunteers to carry a message in hand Back across the hellscape of no man’s land. He sets off at a run, soft hat pulled low. The lip of the second trench seems a distant stone’s throw. Bullets spray mud and whip past his ears. But in his heart is a courage that stamps down his fear. Chorus Verse 4 He was found half-buried and shattered in a crater. Arm upstretched, a desperate message in his fingers They’ll never find the rest of his poor dear friends All boys from a town whose best hopes met their ends. One life or a dozen or a hundred meant nothing To a war burning through such millions like kindling. While a crumpled slip of paper was never received His loss was heard clearly by his bereaved. Soon tired empires collapsed and the guns grew subdued. In front of his old mine his town raised a statue. They remembered his valor but too soon forgot The true reasons this great war had on this world been wrought.


A collection of songs about stalwart people persevering in a world that is often forgetful of its humanity. Includes five all-new songs, two re-imaginings of fan-favorite Escape the Clouds protest tracks, and a cover of the vintage working class anthem, Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons".


released August 29, 2018

Tracks 1-5 and 7-8 written by Mark Rossmore. "Sixteen Tons" written Merle Travis.
All songs performed, recorded, and produced by Mark Rossmore.
Cover artwork by Mark Rossmore.


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Escape the Clouds Fort Myers, Florida

Escape the Clouds crafts stories through both music and words, creating vivid, character-driven steampunk music. For more information about this and other work, please visit:

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