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Non-Prog CD Reviews

New Model Army

Between Wine and Blood

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve never heard of this act before, but apparently they have quite a bit of music out there. This set has two CDs. The first is a six-track studio release. The second is a live album. I think that the studio stuff is stronger, to a large degree because there is more variety. The live music is also good – and there are a couple extremely powerful songs in the mix. It just tends towards becoming a bit samey at times. Overall, this is hard rock that’s a little tough to pin down. The closest comparison would probably be to Midnight Oil, but at times David Bowie is a very valid reference, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1 - Studio
According To You
This killer rocker makes me think a bit of David Bowie. It’s hook laden, fuzz driven and very strong. It’s a great way to start things in style.
Angry Planet
Another hard rocker, there is almost a progressive rock vibe to this in some ways. While not the instantly accessible thing that the opener was, this is a great tune.  
Guessing
We’ve got another scorching hot rocker here. This seems almost between the first two songs in some ways.
Happy To Be Here
Although not really a ballad, this is a mellower rocker. It’s melodic and quite strong. It has some real atmospheric elements. It’s another that makes me think of Bowie just a bit.
Devil's Bargain

There is a bit of an 80s rock kind of vibe to this. In some ways it makes me think of Bauhaus. In other ways, it reminds me of The Cure. It’s good stuff, though. It’s rocking, but mellower and more melodic than some of the stuff here.           

Sunrise
There is definitely an 80s vibe to this melodic rocker. It also has an almost progressive rock (albeit a modern one) edge to it.
Disc 2 - Live
Storm Clouds
I like the rather stripped down, yet hard rocking sound on this. It’s a catchy tune that works quite well. With an acapella section and an almost metal movement after, this isn’t really a simple song in terms of construction. It works, though.
March in September
More straightforward, this hard rocker has some great hooks. It’s energized and fun.
Did You Make It Safe?
I think this is my favorite song of either of the two discs. It has a definite 80s vibe. Still, it’s modern at the same time. It contrasts stripped back with more powered up sections. The vocal arrangement is multi-layered and powerful. Most importantly, though, this song is just so good. You can’t help get caught up in it. This is worth the price of admission all by itself.
I Need More Time
There is almost a gothic rock vibe to this. Yet the more melodic sections have hints of modern progressive rock. However you slice this, though, it’s great stuff. It gets much more hard rocking later, though. Still, those prog elements really do dominate a lot of the time.
Pull the Sun
This rocker reminds me a lot of Midnight Oil. That’s a good thing as I’ve always loved that band.
Lean Back and Fall
There is a lot of 80s sound in this cool rocker. It’s a strong cut, but the formula is starting to wear just a little thin by now. The closing jam is pretty inspired, though.
Seven Times
Drums lead this off and hold it for a time. Then guitar and vocals join and we’re into another tune. I absolutely love the bass guitar on this piece. It’s scorching hot. This one almost makes me think of The Violent Femmes a little for some reason. Still, that Midnight Oil vibe is there, too. This is a great song and one of the strongest here.
Between Dog and Wolf
This one is a harder rocking tune. It’s got some stripped back sections and more fully arranged ones. It’s got a lot of energy, though. It’s far from metal, but it definitely rocks.
Summer Moors
More of a balladic tune, this is a really powerful number. The vocals and whole arrangement make it very effective. It’s a highlight of the set.
Knievel
A powerful acoustic rocker, this one wonders if the public comes to see a stunt-man succeed or die trying.
Horsemen
This is another potent cut. It’s also more of a rocker. It’s a great way to end the disc.

 

 
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