Take This To Heart Records have released their 2023 Fall Sampler that includes tracks by Pony, Orson Wilds, Snarls, Magazine…
Operation Vanguard – Unknown English Soldier
Unknown English Soldier - Self Released
Operation Vanguard are a so rarely seen live band, so much so that many did question there actual existence, so here we have the living breathing (well listening) proof that this urban myth is now a fully fledged reality, Unknown English Soldier (or is it a self titled album? The cover does elude to a name, so I’m using it) puts them firmly on the map, and if you have never heard of or listened to this band, then their style of folk/punk/celtic/rock will open a pandora’s box of musical surprise for you.
This eleven track album kicks off with what is possible the title track ‘English Soldier’ has the very style that this band are made of embedded into the heart of it, the acoustic start soon drops into the earthy guitar and with accents of harmonica thrown in it gives this song a sound that sits perfectly with the subject matter. If I said Ferocious Dog or The Levellers you might not be a million miles away from the how this album unfolds, but then you also get a sense of The Clash in places too, a somewhat catchy ‘My Town’s Called Despair’ gives us all of this wrapped up in one song, an anthem that’s so catchy you’ll never get it out of your head all day, but with this you also get a song about the hardships of life and how it never gets easier and yet its still an uplifter, this follows fully into the next song ‘Keeping It Real’ a track that could so easily have been penned by Joe Strummer himself, but wasn’t, a belter indeed.
Its not all melodies and light though, this album is full of twists and turns that take you on a journey through the heartlands of Northern England and the towns that have suffered from national neglect, ‘Northern Town’ and ‘Land Of Hopeless Glory’ do what need to be done in all shapes and forms, musically great, but with so much pride in the people that will never give up on the fight for justice and equality.
You can pick out moments in this album that will remind you why you became a punk, but what it also does is show you how being aware of life around you and how actually your not alone in the day to day struggle, just listen to ‘Better Days’ it will all become clear, or for that matter ‘Free Falling’ too!
If you want a band that will give you a sound that isn’t angry to the pint of shouting, but definitely still screams, has you reaching for your anarchy flag, your anti Tory t-shirt, your Doc Martins and maybe even your dancing shoes, but most of all give you pride in who you are and where your from, given some social, political and morally informed lyrics that say what needs saying, and be thoroughly entertained to boot, then this album is 100% for you.
Fully self released and out now
get in touch for your copy via the bands FACEBOOK