"This is a review of Carnival, the latest album from New Model Army, by a hardcore fan.
Full bias will be exercised.
I have to tell you that the snippets on various sites really don't do the songs any justice. Not at all. They start and stop and awkward times. They'd be better off simply having the first 30 seconds of each track. After hearing the clips, I was bit skeptical, but Carnival really grows on you like a virus.
The first few listens I didn't quite "get/feel" some of the ideas etc. It really shows you how far ahead, musically, New Model Army is. It also shows you that I haven't listened to much New Model Army lately.
By "listens" 3 and 4, new things start to stand out and grab me, that didn't before. Then, I'm thinking, maybe I should listen to it, again. It's not what I was expecting after hearing a few songs from the last tour, but by the time I get past the fourth "listen", I can feel the effects from front to back.
To start things off, Carnival is the 9th album, and it sounds like it, in a good way. The songs are fresh and adventurous like Thunder And Consolation, but a bit more advanced and complex. Possibly the middle ground of Thunder And Consolation and Strange Brotherhood with Eight keeping a solid presence.
It has a real "band" sound to it. Having a producer (a professional, outside ear) really "paid off", sonically and artistically. These songs sound like they are being played live.
The only negative thing I could even say about the album is that the song order is a bit awkward, in the beginning.
While very drum oriented, all instruments of the band have a solid presence. Drums, percussion, keyboards, bass, guitars, more guitars, vocals, back up vocals, all come and go, and take their turn in the "spotlight". According to the Red Eye press release, they doubled up on the guitars and you can tell! Plus, there's lots of "headphone candy".
In a nutshell, this album sounds like a culmination, and a perfection of the sound, of all of the Attack Attack releases. Echoes of Strange Brotherhood, Eight, Lost Songs, Navigating By The Stars and Tales Of The Road are everywhere.
The majority of the album was written by Justin and Michael, which means that, between this and Eight, we have some insight into the mind of Michael Dean. The album ranges from "pure Army" tracks, to some new ideas and approaches, to straight jammin', rockin' guitars.
This is how you re-invent your sound without really changing anything."
Ishtiaq A. Khan | MN, USA | 10/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1st listen: Hmmmmmmm.........ok
2nd listen: "New" New Model Army, however, some songs sound familiar, masked with influence that dates back to the earlier NMA days. The album, "Vengeance" in particular, stands out.
3rd listen: Alright! This album is definitely different....in a good way! Very catchy tunes....haunting even....just listen to "Carlisle Road". The song, "Another Imperial Day", is an instant hit. Superb song, superb lyrics!
I'm a devoted fan of NMA. Picked up my first NMA album 19 years ago from a bootlegger in the Middle East! Since then, I've purchased every album they've ever released (licensed copies of course!). These guys are my heroes.
Right then! BUY THIS ALBUM!! NMA are back and they are better than ever! Superb album!! Can't stress that enough.
Kind regards, Isaac"
FAR FROM A LETDOWN BUT NOTHING SPECIAL
Elan Bodwick | las vegas | 10/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"IVE BEEN A NMA FAN FOR NEARLY TWENTY YEARS GETTING A BADLY COPIED CASSETTE OF NO REST FOR THE WICKED BACK IN HIGHSCHOOL. SUFFICE TO SAY I BECAME AN INSTANT SUPPORTER- MANAGING TO CATCH THEM A FEW TIMES IN THE US OVER THE YEARS AND MOST RECENTLY CATCHING JUSTIN SULLIVANS SOLO TOUR FROM HIS MOST ACCOMPLISHED MUSICAL OUTPUT( NAVIGATING BY THE STARS). CARNIVAL IS THE BEST RECORD THEYVE DONE IN YEARS-SINCE LOVE OF HOPELESS CAUSES- BUT OVERALL IS PRETTY PREDICTABLE. :ANOTHER IMPERIAL DAY" IS GREAT MUSCIALLY( DOES ANYONE ELSE HEAR THE KILLING JOKE INFLUENCE ON THIS SONG) AND LYRICALLY ITS A VERY HUMANE OBSERVATION ON IMMIGRATION AND THE POWERS THAT BE. SULLIVANS WORDS ARE ALWAYS STRAIGHT TO THE POINT AND TEMPERED WITH A HUMANITY AND WARMTH- AND FOR THE MOST PART THE MUSIC DOESNT QUITE MATCH UP THE WAY IT DID ON HIS SOLO RECORD WHICH I RECOMMEND ALONG WITH THUNDER AND CONSOLATION -IMPURITY- AND THEIR COLLECTED EARLY WORK. CARNIVAL IS A WORTHY EFFORT ESPECIALLY FOR A BAND PUSHING INTO ITS MID TO LATE 40'S WITH NEW MEMBERS. SADLY OLD DRUMMER ROB HEATON DIED A FEW YEARS AGO AND THE CLOSING SONG ON THE ALBUM SEEMS TO BE AN ODE TO HIS MEMORY. STILL I CANT HELP FEELING THAT ITS JUST AN AVERAGE EFFORT- NOTHING BAD OR THROWAWAY- BUT ALSO NOTHING EXCEPT A FEW SONGS AND SOME MORE MOMENTS OF PURE INSPIRATION AND FLASHES OF INTERESTING MELODIES. THERES THE USUAL HAUNTING KEYBOARDS-SOME SAMPLES (IF YOU LISTEN CLOSELY) BUT NMA HAVE DONE IT BETTER BEFORE. MUCH LIKE THE CURRENT RELEASES FROM PAUL WELLER U2 DEPECHE MODE ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN- ITS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OFF BUT JUST SHADOWS OF FORMER GLORIES. STILL EVEN AVERAGE NMA IS BETTER THAN MOST OF WHATS OUT THERE SO I WOULD STILL RECOMMEND IT."
Seamus Farrell | Ireland | 05/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to disagree with the writer below. This is an exquiste effort by one of the best bands around. NWA are a band whose musc always morphs from release to release. Who wants a band that sounds the same all the time? Cutting lyrics (Sullivan is truly one of the great rock lyricists) fabulous bass and drum. A must buy album. If your looking for a best off then I suggest the magnificent "& nobody else" live album."