The Upshot: The epitome of using focused musical imagination to properly exercise thoughtful narrative and controlled passion.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
On the face of it, it seems difficult for a band so fueled by righteous anger to last 35 years without some serious fizzling out. But New Model Army has done it, as awesomely intense now as it was when the West Yorkshire act began.
That’s not to say, of course, that Justin Sullivan and his latest band of brothers fire on all cylinders every second in front of amps and mics – NMA abandoned straight electric folk decades ago, after all, and has never shied from musical experimentation. But Sullivan’s convictions – that wrongs must be righted, evil will not triumph, history teaches us that it shouldn’t be repeated and people of all stripes have the power to change the world – haven’t wavered an inch, and find as full expression on the band’s fourteenth album Winter as on any record in their rich catalog.
Whether on the bass-heavy grunge of “Beginning,” the brooding psych metal of “Drifts,” the unvarnished solo folk of “Die Trying,” the boiling rawk of “Burn the Castle” or the string-laden folk rock of the title track, NMA is the epitome of using focused musical imagination to properly exercise thoughtful narrative and controlled passion. Nearly 40 years on, New Model Army still burns as hotly as ever.
DOWNLOAD: “Drifts,” “Beginning,” “Die Trying”