Better Than Death

by Maltese

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released July 15, 2016

Music by Maltese

Lyrics by Harry Gilboa

Recorded by Maltese, except spoken word for “..?” and harmony vocals for “Better Than Death” recorded by Drew Minnoch

"Moro's Milk" mixed by Franky Kohn and Michael Aboutboul

"If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" mixed by Franky Kohn

"Cherry Hill" mixed by Michael Aboutboul

"..?" mixed by Harry Gilboa and Michael Aboutboul

"Better Than Death" mixed by Franky Kohn

"Leaving Now" mixed by Harry Gilboa and Franky Kohn

Mastered by Dave Schwerkolt


Photography by Marina Drasnin

"Moro's Milk" by Mel Blue

"If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?" by Jasmine Smith

"Cherry Hill" by Olivia Bangham

"..?" by Alex Musca

"Better Than Death" by Thea Phillips

Maltese Logo by Lola Libby

Thank You:

Alon Aboutboul

Elya Aboutboul

Milly Aboutboul

Ori Aboutboul

Zander Allman

Olivia Bangham

Shir Bilia

Mel Blue

Marina Drasnin

Romie Drori

Tsach Gilboa

Buzz Gravelle

Bob Kohn

Matt Kohn

Sharon Lester

Lola Libby

Drew Minnoch

Alex Musca

Thea Phillips

Wayne Sanders

Kevin Shultz

Jasmine Smith

Dave Schwerkolt



all rights reserved


Maltese Los Angeles, California

Maltese is undoubtedly, indubitably, a band. It is also a dog and a falcon. But mostly a band.

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Track Name: Moro's Milk
We've been breathing so long we can't hear our lungs
Coughing up excess like it was our blood
Maybe defacing
Our art, wouldn't make it dishonest
Piss-drunk like your author, channeling from
Statues of prophets and profit-filled men
"If everyone's famous,
Then what do I look up to?"

I don't need to make it myself
There's plenty of fake real-
ness to latch on to
I'll build a perfect home
Out of my hotel room

We've berated the mirror with violent praise
Every conceivable nothing to say
The idiots with high art
The more I eat, the more I need to starve to live
The more I realize ego death don't exist
And all realizations
I've had when I was fucked up
Were false

I feel it all the time
Even though I
Know there is
More reason to feel scared
I can't jump down from the high chair

I felt alive
Tied down
Hands over my eyes
Waiting for someone to notice


Look at me, I'm changed!

Look at me, I'm...

All the way back down
Look at me, walking among you now
Things are changing, but I never will
Put the babes on hold, and let pops refill
Grinning wide, as I stand still
As you burn my footprint
I'll get a new body
In the mangled wire
Making fire
Hell fire
A hell fire's shell
Track Name: If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?
We'll have it when
The narcissism seeps into our rocking seats
So when our kids
Die alone
We'll have waited long enough to say, "It's not my fault"
And the rambling, the solipsism
Will be our legacy, and we'll be fine with it

"No, no, no don't work too hard
You need a break for yourself
Don't wait around for signs"
From crib to catheter in no time...

Aging oblivion
Slithered out her dress, and I paid my respects
When she spit in my face
I gargled like an engine, swallowed like a nun
I was gambling for optimism
But she was my only card, now I have nothing

"No, no, no don't work too hard
You need a break from yourself
You'll always have more time
Don't begin what you can't finish by tonight"

"Don't work too hard"
"Don't work too hard"
"Don't work too hard"
"Don't work"

Can't find my keys
Can't find my pulse
I have no pulse
I didn't notice
We were
The same thing

The same thing

Giving up gets sweeter every time
Track Name: ..?
The first time God met King Saul face to face,
He was sitting on the roof of His old house
ready to slide Himself off.
As He walked Himself to the ledge,
looking down
over His earth,
blurred as in a dream,
God noticed Saul
climbing up the chimney.
Saul sat down next to God,
and put a firm hand on His shoulder.
And Saul said,
“I’m here for you.”
And then he said,
“I’m here, also to be you, whenever you need not to be.”

Though God did not know the King well,
Saul had a sense of comfort and familiarity about him,
one He felt like He could trust.
So God said,
And then He said,
“I’ll leave now, but you’ll call me back if I get too far away, right?”
And Saul promised Him,
he said,
“Of course.
I love you.”

Upon God’s return,
He found that Saul’s word had been pleasantry,
not promise,
For as God sifted through the blood of His children,
trying to gather Himself,
He could not help but notice how grand a display Saul had prepared Him.
There were so many bodies.
So many men,
fallen on their own swords,
watching their heads roll
into the fire place,
trying to slide higher
for a better view.
But God’s seat,
as it always was,
proved the best in His house.

In God’s absence,
Saul had put in place a sea of obstacles and distractions
to stand guard for him,
so he could slaughter the whole litter
on the other side of the door,
right under His nose,
and not even make Him sneeze.

Saul wished up torture
until he was tortured.
until he was pitiful.
until he was deep.
at least,
until he was sunk enough to not know the difference.

God was so disgusted with what He saw
that all He did was do nothing
for a long time.
It was not until after most of the bodies in His house had rotted beyond recognition
that He at last gathered up the courage to confront the King.
And God said to Saul,
“You can’t stand there like an idiot
and sit there like a king
and make believe until you’re real.”
And Saul said,
“I am all that you have left me,
and no more.”
They argued with each other
across the gates of heaven
for what seemed like forever.

after Saul had exhausted his arrogance,
he stopped fighting
and tried to listen.
Instead of getting caught up
in concepts,
in slogans,
in myths,
in metaphors,
and every other form of facade
he wore around everywhere he went,
Saul tried to be a bit more honest.
“For if you can’t be honest with yourself,”
God said,
“you have no business trying to be honest with anyone else,
do you?”

And soon enough, Saul died.
And God died with him.

being the creator of all things living,
God was born anew the next day,
while Saul was cast downwards,
Left to rot with his sacrifices
in aging oblivion.

Beneath a shell of myth,
from a cradle of fire,
He emerged fully formed.

And it was then,
that I,
the prophet _____,
began to climb the chimney.
Track Name: Better Than Death
I saw God
Destitute, dragging out His lambs
Said “no one
will get another ticket to…”
It felt wrong,
But I stayed in clear view
And I reached out
My hand
My hands, and…

I saw God
I saw Man
I sold out
But no one knows how to sell a story these days

I was crowned
On my knees
Shouting, but not praying for
A new set of teeth
Or a way to forget
What I’ve never had
It’s always harder
When you know
you’re dying

I found god
he confounded me
In my own fog
Behind the trailer park
In ransom town
Where I owed him faith
And, instead, I let him pay

I always walk myself away…

Empty of the vacancy that we looked to
To reassure us that where we come from
Isn’t really ever where we belong
We don’t need a room
Or cell
To know that the door leads
To hell
I wanted you to run from them
Scroll out our tracks,
Then scratch them out, and
fall into time
like snow
or freeze in the clouds
though I’m
dead already
been fed
already falling
and crawling
back to my bed, in my
Father’s back house
Streetlights bleed down
Under my tears
Searing the ground
That’s how
You know
That I’m home

Honey, you are home

I just wanted to tell you
Before I forget
Welcome home