Hardwicke Circus to ‘Fly the Flag’ for grassroots rock ‘n’ roll, collaborating with music legends on new album
By Ben Shahrabi
9th May 2023 | Local News
With a rapidly-building reputation as the most exciting band to emerge from the UK in recent years, Hardwicke Circus is set to release its sophomore album, Fly the Flag, next month.
Formed in Carlisle, Hardwicke Circus has over 1,000 gigs under its belt - including a recommendation from Sir Paul McCartney to play at Glastonbury, a UK Prison tour, and a support slot with Bob Dylan in Hyde Park.
The band's latest album, Fly The Flag, is set for a full UK release on 29 July on the band's own label, Alternative Facts Records. It is said to be the band at their most urgent, delivering 12 break-neck recordings "like their lives depend on it".
Produced by Stiff Records' Dave Robinson, it features guest appearances from Earl Slick (John Lennon, David Bowie), Snake Davis, Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey), Seamus Beaghan (Iggy Pop, Madness) and a Cumbrian youth choir.
Check out Hardwicke Circus' latest single, A Johnny Come Lately, below:
Whether the songs are dealing with the acerbic Van Morrision-style 'Bang My Head' or the Four Tops-inspired unrequited love in 'The Colour In Everything', this is an album sure to make you get up and dance.
Fly The Flag is a testament to the positive power regional identity plays in shaping the country's art and music scenes. Just as Sam Fender or the Arctic Monkeys stay connected to their local dialects, The Hardwickes are proud to show off their roots.
In 'Our Town', they encounter the deprivation many Northern towns face and the issues of being detached from the rest of the country.
"It's a rough neck, blank cheque, silent howl, but I call it my town", sings Jonny Foster.
'Night Train to London' reflects the band's reluctance to even 'get out'.
"The ungodly hour, platform 4, steam trumpets reach Carlisle", writes drummer Tom Foster.
Contemporary British painter Humphrey Ocean's album artwork is perhaps the clearest indication of the band's northern roots.
Lyrically, the record reaches further afield in 'Can You Hear Me Now', telling the story of refugees Sadiqi and Dritan, and the Vietnamese families attempting to reach their loved ones who died in the back of a chiller truck in Essex as they sought refuge in the UK.
Already dubbed the 'hardest working group in the UK', the recording process of Fly The Flag could qualify Hardwicke Circus as the country's most brittle-boned band, too – with one broken arm, two keyhole leg surgeries, one van crash, a sawed off thumb, two tribunals, and various breakups. Their dogged determination and fierce independence are at the heart of the album: five unswerving minds, charging for the eye of the storm and making their voices heard, Flying The Flag for you.
Fly The Flag will be available on digital, CD and vinyl formats.
The Hardwickes are also recording a live acoustic album at the famous Pizza Express in Holborn, London next Tuesday (May 16).
The band will play a pre-album London launch show at the Sanctum Hotel in Soho on Thursday 8 June.
Check out some of The Hardwickes' most popular tracks below: