The fifth album from Benjamin Blower and the Army of the Broken Hearted comes with liner notes so expansive, they’ve become a book in their own right.
11 blisteringly politicised junk-folk songs from the streets of Birmingham with a 100-page manifesto, written for everyday people stuck in the coma of British cultural life.
Kingdom vs. Empire is fuelled by the guttural force of Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie, the tried-and-trusted troubadour’s guitar framed by clattering percussion and clamouring voices. But a new and sinister sense of the carnival has entered the palette: ‘Ride that Beast’ and ‘We’re Not Going to Buy It’ are unambiguous party songs and statements of feminist defiance. ‘Take Back the Space’ and ‘Trouble in the Empire’ are clanging calls to radical action and ‘Asleep for a Long, Long Time’ is a ballad to the discontent of 2011. Finally ‘Wake Up Dry Bones’ and ‘Repentance is the Revolution’ are rooted firmly in that forbidden power that emerges when everyday people engage in radical faith.
The accompanying book is an apocalyptic vision, boiled down to its purest form; a social critique of life and faith in 21st Century Britain. Reminiscent of Allen Ginsberg, Andrea Dworkin, The Situationists and the Old Testament Prophets, it is an unapologetic pummelling in the face that will be loved or hated.
The ABH as a collective continue to walk the awkward line between faith and politics, between cultural apocalypse and loving community, between provocative thought and religious madness. Kingdom vs. Empire is their most dangerous work yet.
“This is a stunning looking and rich piece of work – thoughtful and thought-provoking, a real work of art in the broadest and best sense.” –Kester Brewin, Author of ‘The Complex Christ’
“[This] mindset-breaking, counter-cultural little book is a skilfully crafted tool for life. Read it & be moved.” –Roger Haydon Mitchell, Author of ‘The Fall of the Church’
David Benjamin Blower
David Benjamin Blower is a writer, musician, and community theologian from Birmingham, UK. He is a prolific recording artist, a master of stark lyricism and apocalyptic protest-folk; the unconventional wisdom of his work is fast gaining appreciation with a wide audience.
CATALOGUE ( SEE ALL )
Emerging from the patronage of Nomad Podcast, ‘Hymns for Nomads’ is a compilation of spirituals, murder ballads and campfire songs; digging through the soil of life in search of hope and humanity.
The indie-pop collective release their debut EP, a reimagining of classic ‘Christmas’ poetry in a new musical backdrop
David Benjamin Blower’s most ambitious project to date: a radiophonic production of The Book of Jonah, narrated by NT Wright.