As good as a band can possibly be
W. D. Scales | Reidsville, NC | 05/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This career-spanning retrospective of NMA is nothing more than a document of the only rock band that really matters anymore. R.E.M. have wandered off somewhere, U2 has become too inconsistent, and Bob Mould seems to have retired. NMA keeps soldiering on, however, and even with a five-year hiatus in the mid-1990s, they still bring that fire and passion that they always did. Every song is delivered as if it is the most important news you'll ever hear, and NMA continue to buck against all trends. While they may never have a massive commercial success here in the US, one listen should convince anyone that there is no one who deserves it more. This CD suffers from one flaw: it should have been two. There are a few singles missing ("Queen of My Heart", most obviously, as well as the live version of "Space" from 1991's Raw Melody Men), but it gets five stars anyway because the material on it is so crucial and arresting and flat-out fantastic that it could hardly receive anything less. Of particular note is the US-only remix of 1986's "Poison Street", a must for collectors as its album The Ghost Of Cain is widely regarded as one of their best. Three tracks come from 1988's Thunder And Consolation, although in all honesty any three songs from that masterpiece would fit perfectly here. Understand that this is a band whose 1994 b-side compilation sounds better and more complete than almost any other artist's studio release. NMA have always been overlooked in the US, although as of this writing they are touring here for the first time in at least 10 years, playing clubs around the nation. Any fan of English punk, post-punk, rock, balladry and lyrics that actually say something should absolutely not miss this. Those of you who do not know NMA could very easily start here and hear what happens when you don't sell out."
An army that will never fall
heather sterman | NYC, United States | 01/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"New Model Army has often been compared to the likes of WAR-era U2, The Alarm, and countless obscure UK Punk bands who lean towards political and religious subjects, yet they are in a class by themselves by securing the dubious honor of being one of the few Punk bands to actively incorporate the use of a violin or an acoustic guitar into their sound. if there was ever a band who had such a burning desire in their hearts and minds for anything whatsoever, it is New Model Army. and this album certainly lives up to its title. on 1984's 'The Price', Justin Sullivan's introspective and breathy vocals ignite a passionate fire as he channels the vocal stylings of Sting back in the days when he was fighting for New Wave justice with The Police. on 1987's 'White Coats,' Sullivan and Co. question the existence of life, the tragedy of suicide, and what lies ahead of us in the great beyond. the two most recognized tracks on this disc are both from NMA's standout year of 1989: 'Vagabonds' and 'Green And Grey'. 'Vagabonds' is a true battle cry for anyone who has ever felt lost or alienated as Sullivan chants "we are in this together" in the song's chorus, set to a military-style drum beat, a strong guitar, and a piercing violin strain a la 'Sunday Bloody Sunday.' 'Green And Grey' is a haunting acoustic lament to a deceased friend. if you have ever lost someone you love, this song will surely make you feel their presence. it has also been said that Justin Sullivan's voice is "too pristine" to be fronting a Punk band. but like the music he sings, he is fighting for a noble cause, which in this case would be the fact that Punk doesn't always have to sound chaotic to be considered aggressive. and Sullivan's stunning rasp certainly proves that point.
although New Model Army never reached the enormous amount of popularity that the aforementioned U2 achieved, they remain one of the most driven bands of the 1980's and beyond. no matter what struggles they face, this is one army that will never fall."