Under A Banner, Close To The Clouds. Album Review.
Published on October 29, 2014.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

The rumblings of disaffection, of disillusion at the deluded so called Democratic process that runs deeper and with more insidious bite to it than any time in modern history may not come to bite a particular class of the so called ruling elite in time to save the rest of us from allowed tyranny but at least it is being heard outside of the Westminster Empire, even if those inside are seemingly immune to the rising tide anger that is crawling up the Thames in what can only be considered as the next big stink.

To raise your flag, to gather and unite against such unnatural forces is what the British used to be fantastic at. They could smell a wrong one placed in power, the pretentions and evil being emitted from another sharp suit and grinning like a shark scenting blood on the horizon, now the voices are heard but somehow the joke is gathering pace and anger swells in the wrong places. Thankfully, perhaps arguably one of the finest bands to emerge out of the Midlands in last ten years alongside the likes of The Twang, have unfurled the standard and come out shouting with their album Close To The Clouds. In dark times, we all need the security of being Under A Banner.

Close To The Cloudsis an album of deep sincerity and gripping lyrics that are only heightened by their allusion to bands such as The Levellers and New Model Army, the unflinching and healthy disrespect to a system that has become so corrupted by greed and want of an uncaring order that the songs are not just praise worthy, they signal a desire to show people just exactly can happen if the road to 2015 is not met with at least a fight in the hearts of those who deplore the idea of the so called inevitable.

Like Levellers and New Model Army before them, the anger is articulately placed, it glides and soars like the old symbol of freedom and adventure, the Eagle, it is nurtured fully by Adam Broadhurst’s lyrical delivery and a voice that decided against taking prisoners who will not see the fanatical signs ahead.

With tracks such as How Martyrs Are MadeImpossible DayEnglish SoulBullet Rain and Me and Machine given such prominence on the album, the marker has been placed down with anticipation, a fight perhaps is on but is one that can be won with reason, logic and emotion; it has to be won for the sake of all.

Close To The Clouds, like the Levellers’ Static on the Airwaves and New Model Army’s Thunder and Consolation, is an album of great maturity and depth, it is now time to get Under A Banner.

Ian D. Hall

Review link, click here.