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Album Review

Like its seven studio predecessors, the self-produced Eight is a gripping album that can seriously alter anyone's passive attitudes towards music — so much so that the extra effort to obtain it seems ridiculous.

Eight is a bit of a curve ball after Hopeless Causes and 1998's equally strident Strange Brotherhood, with edgy acoustics and slithering harmonica providing a confrontational temperament right from the staccato bang of the last notes of "Flying Through the Smoke." The shuffling "Someone Like Jesus" is so subdued and ominous, you can feel your heart race in worry like an intruder is in the house. "You Weren't There" is likewise irritated underneath its simple, sparse, repetitive vocal lines. And the LP's most noteworthy track, "Paekakariki," again demonstrates the band's trademark manipulation of multi-moods. One of the most beautiful songs Justin Sullivan has ever recorded, it's a provoking ballad, with a soaring chorus vocal and philosophical words, making special use of a supernatural delay on the a cappella vocal passage. Sweet!

Sullivan also sprinkles in four post-punk slammers to keep the adrenaline flowing and to prove his new lineup can rock with any band going. The brisk "Orange Tree Roads" is an immediate stinger, thanks to a dramatic string bed and a drastic chorus. Likewise, "Stranger" and "R&R" are full of Sullivan's rapid-fire delivery, punishing, jagged guitar licks and spit-out lines. The closing "Wipeout" is another vigorous corker with timeless background vocals swelling as the band builds to the album's ultimate conclusion.

Electric and loud or acoustic and meditative, we're left with the same: Sullivan's intelligence and humanity, his blend of fury and enthusiasm. Nearly 20 years since NMA's first gig, there is zero sign of fall-off. (P.O. Box 2168, Burnham On Crouch, Essex, CM0 8Qz, England)

Customer Reviews

Another batch of great songs

New Model Army hit another big one with this effort. The music is diverse and fascinating, the lyrical content is spot on. Justin Sullivan is a fantastic observationalist and story teller. Absolutely worth your time to get to know this album, and this band.


Formed: 1980 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

To their impassioned cult of fans, New Model Army were one of the best post-punk outfits Great Britain ever produced. Combining the gut-level force of punk with the anthemic political fervor of U2 and the Alarm, as well as the urban protest folk of Billy Bragg, NMA sounded like few other bands mining similar post-punk territory. Their attack was hard, spare, and precise, but as time wore on, they were just as likely to deliver modern-day folk-rock replete with acoustic guitar, violin, and harmonica....
Full Bio
Eight, New Model Army
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