Recurring Themes

by Thom Coombes

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"All of my nightmares have recurring themes."

Recorded in February 2013 for the RPM Challenge, mostly for the purpose of demo-ing new material, and for trading albums with other artists.

While some of these songs will eventually become a part of the "Thom & the Tomcats" repertoire, other songs on here sound (more or less) the way I envisioned them; so they are unlikely to exist on another album.

Recorded in between visiting hours, on my tascam 4-track cassette recorder (the MF-P01 model), which I got it when I was 12 years old, and grew up recording music on. Over the month, the device starting to fall apart, and I moved into more digital overdubbing. The last songs were entirely recorded on my old computer. So, this is a mixed medium -or a Frankenstein's monster- of recordings.

So, this album is a bit of a tribute to my late 4-track (2000 - 2013) and to some of my favourite 4-trackers (Refrigerator, Franklin Bruno, John Davis, Simon Joyner, Ramon Speed, and many more) who continue to inspire and influence my own musical direction.


released February 19, 2013

Thom: Guitars, Bass, Casio, Vocals
Meghan Hollett: Vocals (1, 2, 7, 9)
Scrambled Meggz: Vocal (1)
Wyatt Hirschfelt Shibley: Saw (9, 10)

All songs written and recorded by Thom Coombes.



all rights reserved


Thom Coombes St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

not me. not now.

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Track Name: Open as a Door
sometimes i get the feeling like i've been revealing much more
i go back and forth, but right now I'm as open as a door
i keep getting the feeling like i've been here before
just as soon as i remember that i'm dreaming, i wake up on the floor
and the feeling that i get in my head is all i can remember
there's a picture in my brain that i've got no way to capture

cause it comes and goes like my friends and my foes
and hangs around like an up-side-down rose
it can catch the light from the windows
and fall behind in the shadows

the memory is more like a scar than a tattoo
in the end it's like a friend that you can't hold on to
cause things are fading faster than they seem
it's like waking up from a dream;
you reach out and try to grab those
details before they slip into the shadows
Track Name: Mascara
There's a devil and an angel, in the middle there's a judge
You can hurry the jury if they're talking too much.
In the dark there's a face made of shadows ad shapes,
and a figure in the mirror who's as used as a tape.
The dialogue between them goes back and forth all day,
but they're just making sounds, so there's nothing to say.
I'm open but I'm hoping that there may
be a speech at the end that's sure to save the day.
You'll know it when you hear it like school spirit pouring out
and I fear that I'm near it cause it's rowdy in the crowd.

The figure in the mirror is nearer than he seems.
All of my nightmares have recurring themes.
The feeling disappears, I'm still somewhere in between

I always say everything falls into place.
I try to hold my breath, try to keep my pace.
And then I go and scare you, your heart starts to race,
Running like mascara all across your face.
Track Name: Cold Shoulder to Lean On
You were chomping at the bit and gnawing on the bone.

You were talking shit on imaginary phones

To imaginary friends, about imaginary foes,

And your all time highs, and your legendary lows
(I think you spent too much time alone


But you told her to keep on

Then you gave her the cold shoulder to lean on.

 Without a team to be on,

You pass everyone as if you don’t see them.

You were exhausted before you lost it all in the flood,
And embarrassed of the mess everything already was
And it hits you like a tonne of bricks but you're a stick in the mud
And a heavy thud goes unnoticed in the fuzz.
In the white noise, static, and fuzz)
Track Name: Spare Time
I can find things to do in my spare time
but I'd like to think I'm a different kind
of man with a plan you can get behind
and an understood good feeling inside

get my shit together for better or worse
sooner or later a blessing is a curse
just don't call me a priest when all I need is a nurse
time is thin and will surely spin in reverse

I'm not worried about your purse or your wallet
it's a blessing and a curse no matter what you call it
if the days are worth repeating as a whole
then I'm been competing for the leading role

in the movie of my life, I move around like an extra
come up to your table and ask what can I get you
got so much to tell you, and nothing to say
when the pen meets the paper the words slip away

I stutter and I stumble and I mutter and I mumble
and I fall and I fumble and I toss and I tumble
and I tussle with the hustle and bustle of this place
all I got is time, but I can't hardly wait

I took my best shot; it was a shot in the dark
it keeps me together and it pulls me apart
if we could see happiness laid out on a chart
it would move up and down with time like an arc

come to the house that you made a home
we came here together when we built this alone
for reason best left unknown
it's a riddle in the middle of a palindrome
Track Name: Plateaus
You don't get your act together
by being less fucked up,
But I feel a little better
Than I did when I woke up.

I'm losing a part of me;
It's a part that slows me down,
But I can't find the qualities
that will fill the holes in the ground.

Electricity lives in a wire;
Every vice dwells in a hole.
Everyone has a desire;
Some burn more like coal.

I was going up like an auction,
Then I went out like a light,
So I took a little more caution,
And I veered to the right,

And it looks a bit like the right track,
But more like a plateau,
When you can't find your way back,
And you can't figure out where to go.
Track Name: Change in the Weather
I'm not rooting for your downfall or waiting to say I told you so
That thought got so heavy
 and then it just got old.

Had a change of heart like a change of pace. I may be alone but I'm not

gonna keep you as a friend just in case you have something I want


Had a change of heart like a change of plans; it was a drag, but not a big deal
You took the choice right outta my hand and then you ask me how I feel 

 Had a change of heart like a change in the weather,

 All of a sudden everything came together.

 Your fair-weather friends don’t make anything better,
 And the dead letter office is cleaner than ever

I had a change or heart like a change in the scenery
It took a little time but it came easily.
A sense of community felt so new to me,
I aint gonna toss it away so foolishly


Had a change of heart like a change of clothes.
They could only handle so much wear and tear.
For some time I kept them for what they used to be;
some junk that a tailor couldn't repair.

I'm not up for the small talk
to dig up the dead and res-erect a ghost,

hand out back handed compliments
and see who can smile the most? 

Now you say you've been there and you change your tune
You say It only felt good when it felt new.
You say I'll come around when things are looking down,
and that's when I'll be looking up to you.
Track Name: Keep Cool (phone demo)
A tip of the hat, a wink and a nod
Some people think that they know more than a god
But it's just a facade, who are they trying to fool?

I don't mind just as long as they keep cool.

From the basement to the back of the bar

Some people can't face that they're not going far

And they act like they are, who are they trying to fool?

I don't mind just as long as they keep cool

I know in my own way I'm exactly the same

I write songs about qualities I claim not to obtain,

But I'm well versed in that game, so who am I trying to fool?

I don't mind just as long as they sound cool.
Track Name: How I Learned to Love the Rain
I was never the kinda guy that stayed inside when it rained,
but I never took advantage of the sun either way.
I took my chances when I made plans;
It was out of my head when it was out of my hands.

That was long before everything changed:
Before the water was spoiled by the smog when it rained.
Now we're living safe and sound in cities underground
Where the water's purified by the time drips down.

I was killing time, while others settled in,
Made the best of it all and started over again.
There are people now who have only lived this way,
Who have never seen snow, let alone a cold day.

I could never adjust, but I could learn to adapt;
Once we were down, there was no going back.
As for the others, as far as I could tell,
They adapted so quickly, they adjusted quite well.

I guess for many it wasn’t that big of a change;
Life goes on and it's pretty much the same,
From when we went from home to work in underground ,
And the weekends were spent inside when it rained.

They say the way to stay on top of this
Is to wait it out under the Apocalypse

once I was wealthy, I just didn't have money,
I had my health, a love, a place in the country.
But then I moved to take this job
making more than I could spend, turning fields into parking lots.

My love left me before the times were at their worst,
But she always said that I left her first,
When I went in debt for the attention I didn't pay;
I tried to give her everything except the time of day.

I know that she is up there still
In one way or another however impossible.
Perhaps she turned back to dirt after her doom,
And where she took her last breath a flower will bloom.

Now they talk of the surface as if it's the moon,
Where it's cold, dark and wet and there's nothing but gloom.
Compared to here, I bet the air smells like perfume.
I'd rather die alone up there than to live in this tomb.

They say the way to stay on top of this
Is to wait it out under the Apocalypse

After a year we were cluttered in waste;
They were running out of ideas, we were running out of space.
So they took all this junk, and they took it to the stacks,
that runs to the surface and sends it all back.

When our time comes nobody knows
What they do to our bodies, or where the body goes.
You can flush me like a goldfish or stuff me in a bin,
Or take me to the stacks where I hope they throw me in,

Cause one of these days I'm gonna fake my own death;
Get thrown to the top and take my last breath.
And if I’m not dead by the time I get to the top,
A flower will grow where my body will stop.

Now in my dreams I'm sailing paper boats,
On little streams in the gutters of the road;
The road is a river, the sidewalk a coast.
Of all the things I miss, I miss the rain the most.

They say the way to stay on top of this
Is to wait it out under the Apocalypse