Ancient Babies is the new project from Ben Morss, the brains behind international indie-pop faves Onward Chariots. The first record is The Man from 1943, on Mint 400 Records - four songs from a glam-pop musical that never was.
Onward Chariots' records earned praise, airplay and glowing reviews from Italy to Brazil. They landed two European tours and played at legendary indie-pop festivals like Indietracks (UK), Athens Popfest and Popfest New England. The band released a single on beloved Spanish label Elefant Records. Ben has also played keyboard on albums by Cake and Wheatus and with the band that became !!!. His poppy punk band, The Pilgrims, charted on college stations across the U.S. Ben even co-wrote Angelina Ballerina, the Musical.
The Man from 1943 is a character Ben based on his dad, who passed away in 2014. This is not to say the character is his father. Instead, as a way of coping with the loss, Ben created a a shining, tragic glam-rock character based on his dad's quite normal and respectable life: fantasies, extrapolations, things his father might have told the world on an especially honest day. The songs spin away from his father's experiences and imagined experiences, building scenes from what might have been and from what never was. So:
The World in a Jar: The Man kicks things off by finally telling everyone exactly what he thought about them while he was alive.
I'm Radioactive: bitten by a radioactive spider in the lab, the Man imagines the glamorous and lonely life of the superhero he's about to become.
California: The Man plans to leave the wintry Northeast for a new, magical land.
My Father Was Killed by the Sun: a dark fantasy with strings and an old piano.
The album was recorded at two houses and one closet in New Jersey and guest-stars cellist Dave Eggar (Phillip Phillips, etc). It was mixed by Bryan Russell (Paul Simon, Starlight Run, Envy on the Coast) in Nashville.
I will go on. I am not gone!
I never died! I'll hide inside.
Become what you are: the world in a jar.
You never knew. I'm not like you!
I was not fine. I made you shine.
I am what I am. I don't give a damn.
The man in the corner, following orders,
Someone it's safe to ignore.
Open the door. There's so much more.
I set you free. You can't end me.
You can't understand it. My mind has expanded.
The science is thundering through.
What did you do? The joke is on you.
I had no home. You should have known.
You found me odd. I danced with God.
A man on a mission, my own coalition,
I searched for the truth in the sky.
How could I die? Kiss me goodbye.
You never cared. You never dared. You don't deserve to know me.
I was depressed. You never guessed. I was the best at hiding.
I knew the path. I did the math. Now you will never find me.
Now you will never know me.
Now I will never need you.
Can’t reach me. Here in my jar.
Track Name: I'm Radioactive
I was working in the lab in the middle of the night,
Cloning up plutonium under ultraviolet light.
Pourin’ in boron and what did I see?
A spider inside there was starin’ at me.
It was glowing purple which was kinda weird.
It had an extra eyeball and an orange beard.
I picked it up saying, “You’re unique.”
Imagine my surprise when it bit me on the cheek.
I wanted to scream. I was suddenly hoarse.
My vocal cords stretched to connect to the source.
My vertebrae coursed with electrical force.
Everything’s better now. I’m more than just a Morss!
I'm radioactive. Won't be a no one. Finally everyone cares.
Don’t mow the lawn now or clean my room.
I’m battling the robots from the Legion of Doom
I’d come to your party but I don’t have time.
I’m hanging out with Superman and Optimus Prime.
Don’t do my taxes or pay the rent.
It doesn’t really matter who’s the President.
Don’t care about girlfriends or nuclear war.
Those tiny little problems don’t matter any more.
A life of adventure, and fighting and fun
But loneliness after the battle is done.
I am a superstar. I don’t need anyone!
I'm radioactive. Laughing at danger. Strangers are changed when I'm near.
I'm radioactive. Savor the savior. Everything's fine 'cause I'm here.
Flying high, the world belongs to me.
I’m the guy that no one ever sees.
Look at me, my face is like a stone.
Life is hard and I face it all alone.
I’ll save your life, you only have to ask.
All the while I hide behind a mask.
I won’t get old. I’m never gonna die.
When I’m sad I fly through the sky.
I can’t have friends, I’ll never fall in love
I watch the world from somewhere up above.
The ones who love me never see my face.
All alone, I’ve left the human race.
No one’s here to hold me when I cry.
No one’s gonna know who I am when I die
(Oo, I will never have someone to love)
I’m radioactive. Everyone needs me. Nobody knows who I am.
I’m radioactive. Never be human, never be normal again.
Track Name: California
It’s a place where summers never end.
Lovely ladies dance in the sea.
Skies are warm and anyone's your friend.
I know that there’s room there for me.
Sunday morning, the beach goes on and on.
The people wear flowers in their hair
And love is in the air.
Love is everywhere.
Where I'm from, it's quiet and unkind.
Silent figures slouch through the snow.
They don't seek the things they'll never find.
They know that there's nowhere to go.
Come with me. We'll drive across the land
Where life is a sweet as a song
And summer lasts all year.
Let me disappear.
Let me go where summer's always new.
The beach seems to reach to the sky.
Just get in.
We won’t even tell them goodbye.
Take me there!
Track Name: My Father Was Killed by the Sun
My father was killed by the sun,
Done before life had begun.
My father was killed by the moon and sun.
Don’t even know what was won
By the sun.
My father was killed by the earth
Who didn’t know what he was worth.
My father was killed by the earth and moon,
Taken to somewhere too soon.
My father was killed by the moon and sun,
Something was ended and something begun.
Don’t even know what was won
By the sun.
My father was killed by the air,
Which wasn’t aware he was there.
My father was killed by the air and sky
Silently singing goodbye.
My father was killed by his words
Which nobody ever had heard.
My father was killed by the words inside
Where did they go when he died?
My father was killed by the stars and sky.
They ravaged his body and raised him up high.
Finally taught him to fly
In the sky.
My father was killed by the clouds and air.
They shattered his health and they cut his long hair,
Left him to stare in his chair
At the air.
My father was killed by his son
Who never knew what he had done.
My father was killed by his only son.
A tale as old as the sun had begun.
My father went down in a blaze of pain
He didn’t forgive and he never explained
How he was killed by the rain,
How it drove into his brain.
And he never explained what was won
By the sun.