Bonnie Montgomery | D.C. | 06/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A shining star in a glorious career, New Model Army's sixth album, "Love of Hopeless Causes", may very well be their defining moment as one of the greatest, and most underrated, bands of all time.
When the band started, it consited of angry young men who refused to bow down to Margret Thatcher, or waste their life on the dole. Marching Music is what it was. It was raw, filled with fury and built upon powerful lyrics. Over the years they started to grow, develop their range as musicians. "Vagabonds" sent shivers throughout the music world because no one had heard such creativity from a punk band since the Clash. When they released "Impurity" in 1990, it sent shockwaves through critics and fans because everyone had realized that they had become more than just some punk act, they had become an influential and groundbreaking force in music.
"Impurity" rocked to be sure, but their was something very odd about it's sound and words. In the early days, Justin Sullivan(the band's lead singer, lyricist, & creative force) and his mates were shouting "I BELIEVE IN VENGEANCE! I BELIEVE IN GETTING THE BASTARD"! That's not so on "Impurity." Justin appeared tired of fighting. While their were a few traces of these feelings on that album, they come full circle on L.O.H.C.
It's an album loaded with fear and doubt, hate and war, mysticism and sprituality. He knows the war is not over, in fact, it's just beginning. But he has been fighting for more than a decade, he wants to be free. The album is shown through Justin's eyes. We see wars, lost love, riots, the destruction of our world, and most of all, hope. He's searching for something and, by the album's end, we begin to understand what he wants.
Every album of theirs is unique. Whether it's the production, lyrics, or arrangements, each piece has something to admire. L.O.H.C. is filled with them. The song arrangements here are incredible. To open an album with "Here Comes The War", a song that vividly illustrates mankind's violent and volatile nature, and close it with "Bad Old World", a stunning piece which has a friend writing a letter to Justin. He tells him he's free, living in a beautiful place and although he still believes in Justin's fight, he will never go back to that "Bad Old World."
In between these two songs lies some of most heartbreaking and magnificent songs of NMA's career. "Fate" will hook you in immidately by it's cool rhythms. "Living In The Rose" and the knockout acoustic piece "These Words" are emotionally pierceing to say the least. "White Light" is breathtaking and "Believe It" is brutally honest about the current state of the world. The song works just as well today as it did 10 years ago. "My People", one of my personal favorite's from this group, is a classic example of the intense marching music this band can create. This song alone will send you into a frenzy.
The point of this album is simple. We have turned this world into a dangerous place, we have poisioned it with our fears and our greed. And yet, while this may be true, their is still such wonderous beauty that lives all around us. That's exactly what this record is. A thing of beauty from amidst the shadows."
Poems of Thunder
Swen Roschlau | Europe | 01/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"New Model Army is one of my all time favs. They are highly skilled in blending strong emotions into fantastic music that achieves to be at the same time hard and soft, depressed and spirited, raw and sophisticated, political and human...LOHC is yet another masterpiece. Indeed a record of NMA bears more inspiring song wirting than other hyped acts will perform in their lifetime. The opener "Here comes the war" is pure energy unleashed, followed by "Fate" one of the catchiest tracks on the record. "Living in the rose" is a masterpiece of poetic rock - in lyrics and music likewise. "White light" captures a very mesmerizing mixture of spiritual spheric yearning and down to earth hooklines. "Believe it" is another great example of NMA's unique talent in combining both - slow melodic, sometimes melancholic and rough agressive parts. Summing up, the first five songs compose one of the best opening succession of a rock album I have heard so far.As for "understand u" and "my people" - in my opinion these are the weaker songs of the CD. But that is more than compensated by the acoustic breathtaker "These words" and the above-average last two tracks "Afternoon Song" and "Bad old worlds".Justin Sullivan`s epic voice floots skin deep, the instrumentation is intense, but not obtrusive. Listening to this great music is like a journey through natures elements and the inner and outer fights mankind wages on themselves. Why I pay high credits to NMA is not only for their careful and strong song writing but also for their lyrics, which are superior to all of the rock bands I know. Or to say...mere Poems of Thunder!I would also recommend the Live CD "...& nobody else"."
"Put out the lights on the Age of Reason!!!"
D. Knouse | vancouver, washington United States | 01/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The "import" version of this CD is no different than the one here. It is simply a reissued version of the original recording. The "import" is not remastered, nor does it have any bonus tracks. Therefore, this really is the bargain by comparison. Now for the review of the album.
All I had to say to myself as the opening track, "Here Comes the War," exploded from my speakers was, "Wow!" By track 5, ironically titled "Believe It," I was actually giddy, giggling and getting chills. This is the first New Model Army CD I have purchased, choosing it after sampling each of their albums for production value. I've read many of their fans reviews here raving about all of their albums so I decided that modern production values should be the deciding factor. I was not disappointed. The sound is magnificent! The songcraft on this album is stellar, as well, the complex and tightly unified arrangements surrounding some of the most heartfelt lyrics I have ever encountered. The only flat moments appear on the song "Understand U" with its overdone, repetitive chorus; but the solid production and churning crunch of the guitars eventually save the song from mediocrity. If I have to compare this band to any I have heard before I would say both U2 and Midnight Oil. Oftentimes there is a mixture of these two influences that is absolutely remarkable. Early U2's honesty and songwriting combined with Midnight Oil's presence and humanitarian rage. After all is said and done, this album is a tremendous purchase for anyone who loves great songwriting, excellent production value, emotive vocalizations(backup vocals included), and fantastic arrangements. Highly recommended."