New Model Army – Today is a Good Day

January 01, 1970

(Attack Attack)

 

www.newmodelarmy.org

 

Let’s face it: when you think about New Model Army, you
think about message. Justin
Sullivan’s long-running artistic outlet never shies away from politics or
social commentary. Indeed, Sullivan’s reputation rests on his ability to
articulate righteous anger – even when the politics turn personal, Sullivan’s
eloquence seethes more often than it soothes. Those who know NMA by reputation
more than experience expect the kind of bristling verbiage which stops just
short of harangue – it makes them feel good knowing Sullivan is out there
fighting the good fight, and if his band’s disks don’t spin on their players
very often, well, at least someone’s supporting his work enough for NMA to keep
going.

 

But the most fervent of messages fall on deaf ears if not
delivered accessibly, and that’s where NMA is underestimated. Today is a Good Day, the band’s latest
album, comes stuffed full of Sullivan’s carefully crafted lyrics exploring
history, politics and human thought, but that’s not why you should listen to it
– or not the only reason, anyway. No, you should give this record a shot
because it bloody rocks. As smart, compassionate and incisive as Sullivan is at
the mic, he’s also a master of widescreen rock drama – he knows exactly how to
write and arrange a huge melody for maximum emotional impact, regardless of the
story he’s telling. And if you thought NMA had reached its apex in that regard
on 1989’s Thunder & Consolation,
think again – the quintet hits new heights here. Whether waxing muscular, as on
“Arm Yourselves and Run” or “Mambo Queen of the Sandstone City,” restrained, as
on “God Save Me” or “Autumn,” or simply epic, as on “Ocean Rising,” “Bad
Harvest” or “La Push,” NMA works every angle to get you to ponder the message
while you’re windmilling your air guitar. “This storm is beautiful/It breaks
the breakable/It blows unstoppable” would be so much melodramatic hot air if it
wasn’t backed by punky riff rock that genetically splices the Who and the
Clash.

 

By all means, stay for the message, but come for the rock
& roll.

 

Standout Tracks: “Mambo
Queen of the Sandstone
City,” “Ocean Rising,”
“Today is a Good Day” MICHAEL TOLAND

 

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