Between Dog And Wolf

New Model Army

Attack Attack Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


If you were unaware of the history of New Model Army and this was your first taste of the longstanding UK legends, you might be surprised to find out this is one of the most influential post-punk bands of this generation.

The surprise would make sense though; after a slew of problems within the band and recent addition of new members, after over 30 years New Model Army consciously made a decision to tread new ground with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Between Dog And Wolf. The result? A more traditional rock sound with world music influences that contains multi-layered songs with much depth and soul.

I have to admit, upon hearing the tribal-like drumming on the first tune “Horsemen,” I was caught a bit off guard. I soon recognized the foreshadowing, as percussion is often used to propel these songs and serves as the focus on numerous occasion. By the time I got to the soft and soulful “Pull The Sun,” I had all but given up on hearing anything akin to the fierceness of Vengeance (NMA's 1984 debut), but was finding much intrigue in what I was hearing. Near the end they get even more interesting with “Qasr El Nil Bridge” which is Eastern influenced with chanting, though they also insert “Tomorrow Came,” which is about as close as they get to their earlier sound.

Some trademarks are still constant with the band, namely their always-insightful lyrical content. Frontman and only original member Justin Sullivan's voice is still as remarkable as ever and his political observations are always thought provoking. New bassist Ceri Monger, who wasn't even alive when the band began in 1980, brings a more groove-oriented sound to the picture, undoubtedly a huge part of the direction the album takes.

If you were listening to New Model Army in the early '80s and someone told you they would eventually make music like this and be using harps and glockenspiels, you'd most likely have your head pummeled by someone's combat boot. Hell, the band themselves may have even done that. But 33 years is a long time to be in a band without learning to appreciate and explore other genres, much less wanting to write music from a different angle. There's no arguing that New Model Army have crafted an incredible, ultra-creative album. The question is will their fan base also be willing to embrace these new ideas?

Rating: A-

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Attack Attack Records, and is used for informational purposes only.