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Letter From Melbourne

by Sodastream



This Song Swap project was borne out Melbourne having gone back into hard lockdown in June. We had a brief reprieve after the first lockdown, and everyone was already fatigued, but to go back into it under tighter restrictions and for longer was certainly taking its toll. We both have young kids, so not being able to see anyone else or even to use the playgrounds was tough on our little ones.

In the first lockdown there seemed to be more efforts to keep people engaged and connected. For example, most houses with kids put hand drawn pictures of rainbows in the front windows along with teddy bears, for other kids to spot as they walked around the neighbourhood - the only sanctioned outing. But in the second lockdown, no such ideas seemed to be around. Instead, the rainbow drawings faded away in the windows.

Likewise on the social front. In the first lockdown there were online concerts aplenty. But the second time around they seemed to evaporate. Maybe because everyone lost the drive, and also probably because the restrictions got so much tighter, with not even one person able go to another’s house. So it got impossible for bands to get together.

We had been busily preparing to go into the studio to start recording our new album, and we had an ambitious schedule of online concerts planned (we were already experimenting with this before COVID). But now we couldn’t do any of that. We even tried setting up software that would allow us to jam online, but it was another insurmountable technical hurdle that we weren’t in a headspace to try and overcome, given we were spending every day at work dealing with people’s flaky connections on video calls.

It is against that backdrop that the Song Swap idea came to be. We couldn’t collaborate or connect in any other way, so the idea was to start a song that speaks to the shared moment we were all in, and then to pass the audio file around to our friends and collaborators to have them build it up, instrument by instrument. We didn’t give any specific requests or instructions to the musicians as to the instrument or their part. So it was quite exciting to see what came back, and it was a pleasant surprise to hear some people gravitate towards their non-primary instruments. It was a wonderful way to connect with folks, some of whom we hadn’t seen or played with for many years. And the amazing thing about music is that so few words were required to communicate what needed to be done. The song speaks for itself, and people just knew what to do.

- Pete Cohen November 2020



Can’t go to the lakeside

The market or the seaside

And I miss those things

The cops are on Bell Street

Checking licences and shires

Not bruised wedding rings

We’re here in the morning

And here in the evening

Bouncing off each other all day

I hurt your feelings, I know

You try to not let it show

Because everybody’s breaking, everybody’s feeling alone

I wake on Monday

It feels like Wednesday

But it’s Tuesday’s rain

Tapping on the awning

Tickling the plum tree

Every day feels the same

In masks, we pass rainbows

That are fading in windows

Chalk drawings are washing away

Oh we all just want to play

Time stands still but still slips away

Because everybody’s breaking, everybody’s feeling low

I’m warm on the outside but cold on the inside

If anyone asks I can’t say where I’ve been

There’s clouds in the hallway

The children aren’t sleeping

Their binaries weeping

As the walls listen in

It’s been 4 months since dad died

No funeral but I cried

When we chose the words for his stone

I don’t feel like talking

‘Cause the words do nothing for me

Thoughts crinkle like gum leaves

Under my slow feet

While I walk to quiet my head

Oh we’re all feeling alone

We try to not let it show

Because everybody’s breaking, everybody’s feeling alone


released November 26, 2020
Karl Smith - Vocals and acoustic guitar
Pete Cohen - Backing vocals and double bass
Tom Lyngcoln - Electric guitar
Matt Walker - Keyboards
Laura MacFarlane - Vibraphone and backing vocals
Mark Monnone - Electric guitar
Greg J Walker - Vocals, guitar, percussion
Marita Dyson - Backing Vocals
Stuart Flanagan - Electric guitar

Final mix by Greg J Walker
Mastered by Adam Dempsey


all rights reserved



Sodastream Melbourne, Australia

Karl Smith and Pete Cohen formed Sodastream in Perth, Western Australia in 1997 and released four albums, four EPs, and a live album. Hailed by the likes of BBC’s John Peel, Melody Maker and Pitchfork, the band toured extensively across Australia, Europe, the UK and the USA. After going on hiatus in 2007 they reconvened in 2013 and are set to release their fifth studio album - Little by Little. ... more

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