BY JOHN B. MOORE
There are few things sadder in the world of music than bands that keep trying to recycle the same stale act 30 years after first trotting it out on the world stage (I’m looking at your Sex Pistols and your sad, sad cash grab reunions). On the flip side, there’s always the chance that you’re going to alienate your original audience when you tinker too much with the formula (For many fans, “And here’s another one from our new album” is just a dog whistle that says “bathroom break”).
But somehow the British Post Punk band new Model Army have managed to pivot away a bit from their original 1980’s sound, evolving into a much more layered, heavily-produced sound that, more often than not, manages to impress. Lyrically, the band’s frontman and primary songwriter Justin Sullivan has always skipped the typical she-broke-my-heart rock clichés in favor of tackling more profound themes of injustice and oppression and Between Dog and Wolf is no different. While the lyrics here do tend to come off as pretentious at times, the sentiment is still admirable and actually pays off on songs like “March in September.”
Thirty-three years after they initially formed, it’s notable to see a band like New Model Army manage to remain relevant by going down new avenues. If the Stones had done so, they might actually have been able to play songs past 1981’s Tattoo You.
DOWNLOAD: “March in September” and “Tomorrow Came”