New Model Army - Carnival

Now proudly parading their ninth studio album (on their own label), New Model Army channel their anger in so many directions that the objects of it do not know which way to look or turn, many a one dimensional politician should take note. Hailed as taking over from The Levellers, New Model Army has carved their own niche. Starting off with a soulful and philosophical sojourn into the subject matter of needless bickering; ‘Water’ that slowly crashes around your mind. Justin Sullivan’s scything poignancy and emotion packed Joe Strummer kicking Morrissey up the backside vocals that come to the fore against a backdrop of sliding, new wave guitars and clattering percussion in ‘BD3’ and the worrisome ‘Carlisle Road’. The Stranglers feel to ‘Prayer Flags’, provides the perfect forum for the poetically worried and edgy lyrics;

“A single drop of rain falls on my windscreen,
 We’re closer to the edge than we realise.
 The bridges have all been washed away or bombed out
 And the water runs fast and black and cold.”

A haunting feeling is exuded in ‘Red Earth’ that possesses a neat thumping jungle beat punctuating Sullivan’s piercing points, as his vocals and the musical slow down, but you feel the anger rising like a steaming volcanoe, while you hear of, and join in, a search for faith. New Model Army really dig deep on this offering to explore a wide range of sounds and topics. The death of drummer and songwriter Robert Heaton, not so long ago hit them hard and while the album is quite insular in places, it is not hard to empathise with this enthralling and ardent rock group.

David Adair

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