1.0.8. – Somerset Boys (2021)

The brainchild of UK-based singer-songwriter Andrew Stewart, 1.0.8. is a highly experimental and eclectic solo project. With a reputation for touching on provocative issues, Stewart has explored the intricacies of the human mind with a unique sound. Working with various musicians, we have heard him collaborate with Dave Dunn Birch and Joe Roughton (to name a couple). In the past year, he has gained coverage from RGM, YMX, Edgar Allan Poets and more all praising him for his work. The latest addition to his discography is the single ‘Somerset Boys’.

Inspired by the words of Harry Patch (1898 – 2009), ‘Somerset Boys’ explores the complex concept of being a soldier and its consequences. Speaking specifically of the Battle of Passchendaele, Patch shared that “…Passchendaele was a disastrous battle – thousands and thousands of young lives were lost…to me, it’s a licence to go out and murder. All those lives lost for a war finished over a table.” Powerful words, but there is more behind the text and Stewart brings this to light.

While the melody is soothing and heartfelt, the sincerity is enhanced and lost in the track. Enhanced in the way where one connects with the song and shares nostalgic joviality; however, it is lost when considering the feelings of resentfulness. Resent not only in having to fight in a battle which they didn’t want to take part, but also a disdain for a Government who found soldiers dispensable. Patch shared that the battle “…makes me angry. Why should the British Government call me up and take me out to a battlefield to shoot a man I never knew…what is the sense in that?”

It is easy to understand why veteran soldiers can be angry, but ‘Somerset Boys’ looks at both sides of the coin. The negative emotions are acknowledged but the cheerful memories are also explored. The flowing lyricism follows the tale of a soldier who returns home to experience these provocative thoughts and feelings. Yet, while the soldier did not speak about what he saw (as with many soldiers), he allows himself to feel the pain and optimism of those days at war.

Showcasing great depth and profound reflection in the melodic acoustic-based tune, Stewart retains his provocative stance. The grittiness of reality is bared in a brutally honest track, but it ends on a positive note showing there can be solace in haunting memories.

In addition to the single, 1.0.8. released an official music video for ‘Somerset Boys’. Adding a visual element to the single, the music video shares photographs of soldiers alongside a melancholic tune. This can raise several complex emotions as you consider the joy in their eyes, the gallant motivation to protect their country, the camaraderie, and then the reflection that many of these men either did not survive or live with haunting memories. It’s odd how black and white images to a soft tune and be so soul-stirring.

For more from 1.0.8. check out his Facebook and Spotify.

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