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What follows is a review by an online music blogger who, at the time of writing, did not know the band personally:

Under A Banner Jan 14
by Themistocles
Under A Banner are a wonderful discovery. The dream of traditional England flows through the work of this Midlands outfit, blending folk-styled music with the ideals of punk – a haunting, ethereal throwback to real English folk traditions mixed with the revolutionary fight and inspiration of bands like New Model Army.

The themes differ – from the evocative and powerful “Inseperable”, gentle melodies of the guitar subtly underscored with the sombre interludes of the violin and all topped with soaring, mysterious vocals in a tale of love and loss – to the passionate and idealistic self-proclaimed drinking song: “First Light” – ‘Into the city we go, Straight through ’til we see the first light of tomorrow’. In this case, the words assisted with clanging electric guitars tinging the idealism with aggression, a call to arms, almost.

However, the real joy for me lay in “The Scream”, an impassioned cry for freedom, to break loose and live: “Now raise your head from the shadows and scream, just scream; They kept you so quiet for so long… The sound of your beautiful scream” – primacy, anger and fascination with the fundamental elements of human nature, finding joy in simplicity and the release. Combined with the rapid acoustic guitars and pulsing rhythm of the drums, along with the dark natural imagery (“the storm” and “the noise”), the song becomes an insistent repeat, a rallying cry against stagnation and repression:“We love to create to destroy” – our freedom is most important.

Under A Banner are a breath of fresh air in a music scene stagnating and dying with manufactured pop, here is a band calling back to the earliest days of musical expression and bringing it back in a whirlwind of acoustic guitars, poeticism and passion. A band you can stomp your foot and sing along to, and to whom you want to follow forward, as they so wisely put it, with “beer, wine and song” – an admirable sentiment indeed.

under a banner adam broadhurst, Wolverhampton, Britain (UK)

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