Maybe You're The Punchline

by Shrug Life

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Shrug Life's second album, their first on wax. Spin this archaic artefact to your hearts content.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Maybe You're The Punchline via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Selected Shrug Life lyrics from across past and future releases. Includes an introductory essay by Danny Carroll on lyric writing. Layout and design by Beibhinn Delaney

    Includes unlimited streaming of 2009 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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Join the local gym with the obnoxious name Blasting shit pop hits, no pain no gain Become strong like an ox and burn off the excess calories And all the terrible toxins presumably killing me Join a nearby choir, get to know the community It lifts your mood a little higher, to share an out of tune harmony Don't worry that they think you'll probably burn in hell Sure it doesn't really matter if you sing 'Amazing Grace' this well Join the meditation class, run by your cousin's hippy friend Dropped out of business at last, and "now he's totally zen" Just put your trust in his pan-pipe authority For 20 euros a week he'll teach you how to breathe properly Try new hobbies, try be happy Maybe able to feel more stable Go the Italo disco, pretend you're in to the deep cuts Find some brief sense of flow, when you've stopped caring how you look Talk to people to you used to know, ignore initial dread Cause they're not all out to judge you or assume you're a dickhead Do the soup run on Tuesday, put your worries in context Progress beyond the cliché nest of Netflix and no sex Cook a fucking avocado and laugh at your neuroses No more hiding in the shadow of misanthropic tendencies Try new hobbies Try be happy Not so nervous Not so worthless With some purpose Start to surface
Confidence evaporates, hot air to begin with Once again bear the weight of being non-existent Skulking 'round the smokers, itching for a drink Struggling to remember you can't know or care what anyone thinks Gotta start talking to the strangers Gotta stop feeling so strange Self-defence dominates, every move and opinion Safety in the silences, safety staying still But you know it's no improvement 'Cause it never lets you change And it only makes things harder When you finally have to play their game Gotta start talking to the strangers Gotta stop feeling so strange Gotta start testing the danger Gotta stop believing no one else can think this way Ripping up beer mats and gripping your phone Watching the soundcheck, imbibing alone Sipping the cheap shit, thinking of home Missing the moments, it's harder to know Gotta start talking to the strangers Gotta stop feeling so strange Gotta start testing the dangers Gotta stop believing no one else can think this way Until the act becomes second nature Until the act is actually sincere And all the fight goes from your forehead Another brief bright summer appears
Sharing some sour opinions around It props her up to be putting people down With second hand stories she takes her aim An effortless way to stay entertained Slurring some sleazy details from his past An ugly attempt to make the lads laugh With pissed poetic license, ruins a name At least they can say you've been entertained Small talk and idle gossip when you're wrecked in the pub or bored round the office Bland brutalities and petty impressions It's really a skill, when there's time to kill they know what to do if nothing else it really helps to protect themselves by tearing someone apart Monday morning's always the same A fresh set of fools to defame A story to tell, well haven't you heard It lightens the mood when there's someone to curse Saturday night never seem to change Inebriated tales and enemies to shame "You wouldn't believe, well guess what she did..." The party peaks when you finally spit on a reputation Small talk, glorious gossip Wrecked in the pub, or bored 'round the office Bland brutalities and petty impressions It must be a thrill, when there's time to kill they know what to do if nothing else it really helps to protect themselves by tearing someone apart if nothing else feel pretty great more sure of themselves when they're telling us who to hate.
Eighteen going on nineteen lost my mind for a bit Deemed unfit for school and work and society The culmination of a weak disposition too much weed and paranoid visions of death, disease and The Beatles, the ghost of John Lennon was evil and out to get me, naturally In 2009 You could say it was a tricky time for me. Eighteen going on nineteen lost my mind for a spell It's strange on reflection how cracked you'll get before people can start to tell. Days previous I felt like a genius Sleepless, but safe in my cure for cancer Awake for six nights working on the answer Talking to God at Tara Street station of course In 2009, No it wasn't an especially excellent time for me In lecture halls and supermarkets Panic attacks emerged and shook me to surrender The summer that followed was quiet at home repeat exams and consultations Swiftly chucked away my phone No energy left for explanations In one sense still feeling permanently stoned numbed out on a substitute, six months medication.... 2009 Helped me redefine what I might be 2009 Operating from zero up became a gift to me
In the middle of everything that's missing, the tongue begins to slip The voice of doubt and anger finds an outlet far too quick As strangers smiles are seen as smirks Back to a Holden Caulfield sense of berserk Increasingly cursing the phonies and jerks For a joke you musn't be getting A joke you musn't be getting In the middle of everything that's missing The mask begins to split The pull of the past is enough to keep you sleepless with a twitch internally screaming what if perpetually ready to be sick, now there's a Pain in your face from frowning No taste for the drinks you've been downing Itching for the punchline Maybe you're the punchline In the middle of everything that's missing You're left with lies you can't forget So now you're doubting every answer quick to assume you're under threat Wasted in the Workman's cultivate fresh regrets Barking accusations at people you've just met Congratulations No one's laughing anymore King of the cowardly gesture Make them feel as sore as you do.
When the clocks go back and the cold sets in and the gloom consumes where the week begins your laugh is a spark to live for a stay on darker days the warmth in conversation cuts across the tired haze Enough sometimes to recognise the better man you see in me Enough sometimes to realise the change can happen gradually Through the hours of work with the same fatigue jumping hoops for fools we can never please there's still these notes between us simple and sincere to fight the spent resentment the sense we're still stuck here Enough sometimes to recognise the better friend you've been to me Enough sometimes to realise It's not as bad as it used to be As the night draw nears And the crowds push by And the panic of the city settles into a sigh I start to consider the bigger picture the people who keep me through the bleak midwinter enough sometimes to recognise enough sometimes to realise
I hope you get to be what you wanted In Berlin or whatever else suits your ambition The films and books and bands weren't just a teenage badge of honour The restless schemes and plans Don't get abandoned for something smaller I hope you get to be what you wanted And you're able to move past life's many bastards The everyday snakes and unmatched misogynists Nice guys playing mind games and politics Same as in school, as in work as in government And nobody makes those decisions for you And nobody makes you pretend it's okay And time doesn't take that ambition from you And time doesn't leave you nothing to say I hope you get to be what you wanted Only slightly compromised or corrupted Enough armour around the essential self Enough guards in place for your mental health The neck to protect your imagination The nerve to preserve your grace and patience, I know Nobody makes those decisions for you Nobody makes you pretend it's okay Time doesn't force their tradition on you Time doesn't leave you afraid to say There's no signs that it gets easier When you're crumbling today, But all those brains have got to go somewhere And nothing will change if you stay in this place
Swimming in lemsip What's another year? Nothing grows in November besides the fear Am I earning enough to remain in the city? Rent's going up next month, no surprise So I keep the timetable packed Tetris tight No room to manoeuvre no space for off nights Too worked up to wind down I run without rest As custard coloured slugs come up off my chest Weighing in At an incredible One hundred and forty seven pounds A colossus in Age Action jumpers A poster for modern fatigue A hero in dead-men's trousers Face for millennial unease These briefcases beneath my eyes mean business Arabica beans beat my brain until Christmas Hoovering strepsils hoping for change Y'just smother the sickness If it means getting paid Am I working enough to contain the old worry? Can't let the cracks show on the job Wrestling with, My monthly list of mounting bills, old debts and dumb decisions A goliath in pressure zone housing Titan of the middle-class squeeze Scraping by on false notions Of freelance purity Where you'll never afford to ignore a hint of business Arabica beans beat my brain until Christmas So get to work In wrinkled shirt, with Button loose and Sweaty collar Sprits frayed but getting through Nothing new, it's only you It's only winter
Ghosting, it's been three weeks now Friendships don't end they just fade somehow So busy, so busy, so I suppose we're allowed To hide inside excuses Move between crowds Ghosting, it's a novel solution No time to talk when we're this disillusioned and too busy, too busy to be, meeting face to face Avoid any definite statements Skip the confrontation now you're Ghosting - Out of sight Every coward gets a brand new start tonight Let's assume better left unsaid Let's assume we'd rather disappear instead Isn't it romantic Mysterious, spontaneous game we play Isn't it enchanting Knowing we can quietly slip away Put a block on the past Delete the photographs It's not worth the fight For fleeting attachments to little lives Outta sight No one needs another insincere goodbye Let's pretend we don't exist Let's pretend we're so evolved beyond all of this
All the scaldy young ones, are Marching in the mud. Drinking two litre cider As only they should. They're having a good time Despite the lashing rain Enough medicine sneaked in to numb the aches and pains A field in the midlands For the last gasp of summer Enough distance and difference to embrace one another Strangers say; "Make some noise!" So the kids make some. Every mouldy man child is pissing in the shrubs Chewing on their chins, as only they should They're having a mad one, they're able to say Saw seven different bands while facing the wrong way It's a beautiful communion for 300 euro You can eat an ostrich and burn a gazebo Strangers say "Festival Name" To hear the crowds programmed refrain Until the scene has some meaning it was missing before The song really starts to mean more than the sum of its second-hand parts Recycled gestures Can't get much better Loud, proud and brainless But so contagious It does not matter If you are shattered They don't want answers Just need escape.
Barking out our bastardised reading of the blues For the pub-crawl tourists and the chosen few The white man's struggle never sounded so true On a grubby little stage beside the exit and the loo What value do we have to you? What value do we have to you? Name your price, don't make us beg We've got art for sale you want 'Wonderwall' instead, well maybe, it's gonna be the gig that ends me. Give us a lukewarm bottle of Brahma And the attention of your innocent ears We'll never soundtrack a hospital drama But we can help you drink your tears The soundman clearly hates his joyless job Forced to listen to these whining frauds Promoter thought we'd bring more through the door A band you can't rely on, that's for sure. What value do we have to you? What value do we have to you? Merchandise of the heart and soul Might be nice to pay for bus fare home, well maybe, it's gonna be the gig that ends me. Thank you Stephen, thank you...


This album was recorded and mixed by Daniel Fox in Sonic Studios, Stonybatter, Dublin 7. It was mastered by Matthew J Barnhart at Chicago Mastering Service.

Artwork by Fiachra McCarthy


released April 3, 2020

Danny - man voice and guitar, Keith - bass, Josh - drums and percussion, Naoise Roo - woman voice, Jonny Fun - keyboards.


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Shrug Life

Shrug Life is the questionable, protective moniker of Danny, Keith, Josh and Laura. Together they make music and fight first world problems. This is their story...

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