A package that rivals the Stones’ Sticky Fingers. Commoners Choir (no ‘The’ or apostrophe – I’ve already had that made clear…) is a collective with a genuine commitment to change. As they say, they put the ‘oi’ in ‘choir’ as they wonder about the state of the nation.
Release Date: March 2020
Label: No Masters
Formats: CD / DL
Yes, there I was finding myself untying an intricately and carefully tied shoelace (hence ‘Untied’ and not ‘United’ Kingdom) that held the package containing a collection of Commoners Choir goodies. Badge, sticker, sunflower seeds all cascaded out. And a CD with booklet lest we forget why we’re here.
My last encounter with the Choir was in 2018 when they did a support slot with the Shake The Chains project. Imagine being greeted in no uncertain terms with a song that worked around the refrain of “Get off your arse!” by a group whose size was so many that they couldn’t all fit on the stage.
Yes, there’s safety in numbers but you wouldn’t want to encounter a group of Commoners Choir members in an alley after dark. A fervent passion and a commitment to singing songs of harmonious insurrection comes as standard.
And while the songs explore the state of the nation, our current crisis proves far too topical to have made the final cut. However, there’s much to get passionate and positive about and rouse the spirit. They might be forthright and call a spade a spade, but their messages are of hope and celebration; of resilience and community and shared compassion.
Fifty-five minutes of crafted and harmoniously performed song both educate and inspire. Take time to dig deep into the backgrounds and inspirations and how they inflame and inspire the songs. No punches are pulled when they sing of bigoted Etoniains who rule us, Peterloo, mental health and joining George Orwell on the Road To Wigan Pier.
Particularly insightful in a rebellious way are the verse (in Latin) from the Eton school song and what’s destined to attain the status of a signature song, Not The National Anthem for a nation in confusion and crisis. More anti-anthem but more relevant right this moment than at any time.
As the Commoners say, these aren’t songs about the state of the nation. It’s a wondering about the state of the nation album. They will not be silent – it’s good to protest. And to lift one of the huge numbers of quotable lines from the tropps of Boff Whalley, we’ve more in common than divides us.
Take time to have a look at the short film about the album here: