Close to the Clouds is the powerful and poetic offering from Under a Banner who have been making alternative rock for around three years. This, their second CD, is described as “featuring 13 brand new songs about life, death, motorbikes, belief, disbelief, change, rain, government and so much more”.
The CD opens with Out Like a Light which immediately grabs the attention with its rousing “up away and all away and up away and all away home” (I challenge you not to join in). This is followed by the evocative Impossible Day. The title song Close to the Clouds has wonderfully inspiring lyrics to an uplifting tune. Numbers opens with lively fiddle and is one for every worker with its social commentary “It’s the age of targets, numbers rule our world … Everyone is running, ticking boxes, running scared …”. How Martyrs are Made is an anthem beginning with a strong tribal drum beat. The rousing lyrics of English Soul are ‘Woody Guthrie for the English’.
More social commentary in Don’t Give A … “we don’t care who you are … and we don’t give a…” (which has the gap left presumably to insert explicit lyrics of your own choice). City Alone is an atmospheric anthem which is followed by the expressive urban track, Bullet Rain. I Hate This Place is perfect for when you have had enough of everything, especially the stupidity of humanity. Play loud and join in. Leviathan starts with “Order!” and ends with “We ask the house of fools, ‘What have you done?” And then there is the promised motorbike in Me and Machine.
The final track rounds off the CD with the beautifully uplifting Festival of Light “We will make light when we meet …. light falls on the tomb … let it fall here … let it in”
Socially and spiritually aware alternative folk rock at its finest.
Details: Under a Banner. Close to the Clouds. Beneath the Flag Records 2014.
Review Details: Close to the Clouds was reviewed by June Kent, editor of Indie Shaman magazine
To Buy: For more information and to buy visit Under a Banner; Bandcamp; Close to the Clouds