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Music / Abney Park

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Abney Park comes from an era that never was, but one that we wish had been.

"We tried to make a buck, but we could barely stay aloft
Tried swinging a deal, but we pissed the wrong guys off
With a clockwork guitar, and a flintlock bass
We're blasting the past all over the place—
And now there's nothing left but Post-Apocalypse Punk!"

Abney Park is a Seattle-based steampunk band that mixes elements of industrial dance, and world music influences in their work. The band has a steampunk theme that they incorporate in their instruments, music, outfits, and even their own studio, which is actually pretty awesome. Really, is there more that needs to be said?

Current band members:

  • "Captain" Robert Brown - vocals, darbuka, diatonic button accordion, harmonica, bouzouki, bağlama, ukulele
  • Kristina Erickson - keyboards, vocals
  • Josh Goering - guitar, banjolele
  • Derek Brown - bass
  • Mitchell Drury - violin


  • Abney Park (1998)
  • Return to the Fire (1999)
  • Cemetery Number 1 (2000)
  • From Dreams or Angels (2001)
  • Twisted & Broken: Abney Park Remixed (This album is available from the band as part of a special package)
  • Taxidermy (2005)
  • The Death of Tragedy (2005)
  • Lost Horizons (2008)
  • Aether Shanties (2009)
  • The End of Days (2010)
  • Off the Grid (2011)
  • Ancient World (2012)
  • Through Your Eyes on Christmas Eve (2012)
  • The Circus at the End of the World (2013)
  • Nomad (2014)
  • Wasteland (2015)
  • Under the Floor, Over the Wall (2016)
  • Crash (2017)
  • Scallywag (2018)
  • Iconoclast (2019)
  • Abney Park's New Nostalgics (2019)
  • Abney Park's Songs Of The Sea (2019)
  • Songs of Joy (2020)
  • Esoterica (2020)
  • Technoshanties (2021)

The band also produces an award-winning Role-Playing Game called Airship Pirates, and has published a Tie-In Novel of stories set in their backstory universe entitled "The Wrath of Fate."

They provide examples of:

  • All Myths Are True: "All the Myths Are True," predictably.
  • Anachronism Stew: Comes with the Steampunk aesthetic. Lampshaded in Rag Time Punk:
    We bolted brass and we kicked some ass
    Wrote some songs by the lamplight's gas
    Soon our history we did defile
    And made a past that couldn't be
  • After the End: The End of Days.
  • The Captain: Captain Robert.
  • Concept Album:
    • Lost Horizons follows the crew of the HMS Ophelia (an airship) as they travel around the world during a Victorian era that never was — mad scientists, exploring mysterious lands, airship pirates, strange science, and the joy and heartbreak of traveling abound.
    • An RPG based on the post-apocalyptic airship pirate theme has been released in two versions, one using the Heresy System as seen in Victoriana RPG and the other using an original system called the One-Dice System.
    • The End of Days follows the crew (and mankind in general) as they pick up the pieces after accidentally causing the apocalypse at the end of Lost Horizons.
  • Coming of Age Story: Ultimately what the song "The Clockyard" is about. Literally it's about a Clockwork boy who's trying to find the parts to build himself up before he leaves. Metaphorically it's about how if you wait until you're good and ready to go out into the world, then you'll be an old man cursing the fact you wasted your life because you were never ready.
  • Cool Airship: Linked in with the band's fictional Back Story is the time travelling airship HMS Ophelia. Just to re-iterate that: Their airship travels through time.
    • The tabletop RPG set in the band's world has a lot of these, and the players will have one of their own.
  • Cover Version: A good portion of their discography is them covering various songs from various eras. Techonoshantes is them doing covers of old Ship shanties, and Abney Park's New Nostalgics is them covering songs from 1909 to 1942.
  • Clockwork Creature: "Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll" from Lost Horizons, a clockwork sex doll. Really.
    • Also the protagonist of "The Clockyard," who is building himself up from scrap.
  • Cool Sidecar: "To the Apocalypse in Daddy's Sidecar," based on something Captain Robert's daughter said.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Promotional photos of Capt. Robert show him smoking a pipe.
  • Downer Ending: Airship Pirates. Unless you believe that they took the people onto their crew.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The band had been around for ten entire years before they adopted their steampunk theme. Before that, they were a goth industrial metal act, with much darker lyrics and heavier sound to match.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Technoshanties is techno versions of sea shanties.
  • The Game of the Book: "Airship Pirates," the RPG.
  • Hollywood Atheist: The song "I've Been Wrong Before:" Tells the listener that acting this way makes you a bigger fool than everyone else as not only are you close minded but you don't believe in anything.
  • I Am the Band: Captain Robert Brown is pretty much the beating heart of the band. Not only did he found it, he sings for it, plays multiple instruments for it, makes some of the instruments for it, and is the principal songwriter for the band. That being said he's a nice enough guy about it, and his wife is a member too.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: From "Throw Them Overboard:"
    "To survive this cultural urology, you have to study Alcohology."
    • The Airship Pirates RPG invokes this when it comes to time travel, advising players to make sure they (and their crews) have some liquid courage before attempting time travel.
  • Intercourse with You: From before their steampunk days: "Love," a song unashamedly about rough sex.
  • It Amused Me: Captain Robert (The actor/singer) on why he loves the song "Out of Darkness"
    "When I was writing this, I thought maybe it was too happy-bubbly. Kristina walked into the studio, and said, “This sounds like ABBA, if they had been a goth band.” I giggled for an hour, and decided I loved it based on that description."
  • Kayfabe Music: Sort of. While the band does perform in their airship pirate personas, it's the novels and RPG that establishes the characters more than the band itself.
  • Love at First Sight: Rosie and Max. The second Rosie looks Max in the eye, she sees the rest of her life. However the song admits that she doesn't know if that love is platonic or romantic, but it's there.
  • Mad Science: "The Secret Life of Doctor Calgori" from Lost Horizons.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: "The Emperor's Wives" has a particularly unusual example.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Mostly Nathaniel and his mandolin, though Robert would probably get more if he weren't married.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: "The Secret Life of Doctor Calgori" begins with one, underscored and eventually taken over by the sounds of steam and clockwork.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: In the novel, Dr. Calgori is very insistent that they can't meet up with his past self to repair the Ophelia.
  • Of Corsets Sexy
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: "Throw Them Overboard" provides an example in the form of alcohology, in order to fit in with the rhyme scheme of the other -ology words.
  • Pirate Girl: The HMS Ophelia's crew of drunken pirates includes Kristina Erickson and Jody Ellen. On a pirate ship retrofitted into a steampunk time-travelling dirigible. Yes.
  • Religion Rant Song: One of the ways (the most obvious way) to interpret "Virus" is as a Type 2.
    • "I've Been Wrong Before" plays with this. The singer says that he doesn't really believe in religion or anything similar. However he then goes on to say that if you don't keep an open mind about things you're much worse than the people that do believe.
  • Renaissance Man: Captain Robert Brown. Singer, Writer, plays multiple instruments, creates new instruments, and father.
  • Revolving Door Band: While Captain Robert and his wife have remained members of the band from the beginning, there has been over nineteen former band members.
  • Science Is Wrong: In the song All the myths are true. The singers mention how science has come up with perfectly mundane explanations for various myths. The problem is that the mythology doesn't care to follow them, as shown in the frantic radio broadcast in the interlude.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their first album, which seems to have been lost to the world. They also have a song called "Abney Park" on another album (which is about the cemetery.)
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In the novel, Captain Robert and the rest try to do this, but because of the Butterfly of Doom, it didn't turn out so well.
  • Shout-Out: From "Victorian Vigilante:"
    Each night as I go walking underneath the lamplight.
    I bring my baritsu and I'm ready for a fight.
  • Sky Pirate:
    • The group logo is a goggle wearing skull, and crossed cutlass and propeller; figure it out. Also the basis of much of their music, especially "Airship Pirates," "Under the Radar," "Post-Apocalypse Punk," and "Aether Shanty." Though by the lyrics, they're not nearly as good at pirating as they'd like.
    • The hidden track on Lost Horizons ("The Ballad of Captain Robert") splits it squarely between the lifestyle being rough, and them being pretty hopeless.
    • They even named their RPG "Airship Pirates."
  • Space Western: "Space Cowboy."
  • Steampunk: Obviously.
  • Sword Cane: The person the vigilante in "Victorian Vigilante" kills has one of these.
  • Take That!: The song "Jealousy" from the album Ancient World is certainly this, and the song "Waiting for You," could also be considered one... Possibly at the fans.
  • Tie-In Novel: The band has written a novel of stories, set in the Abney Park backstory universe.
  • Villain Song: "Evil Man." "Beautiful Decline" is one for the Big Bad of the novel and RPG as well.

And probably every other steampunk trope.