Recorded in nine days on a Norwegian island New Model Army return with an album steeped in their unique sound with the unmistakable figure of Justin Sullivan leading the charge. With a more traditional sounding or should that be classic sounding New Model Army on ‘From Here’. It seems like an age when the band first announced pre-sales for this record and after releasing a couple of videos for tracks such as ‘Never Arriving’ my excitement started to peak for what the album might turn out like. With a more earthy and classic sounding arrangments, New Model Army have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into another record and the reward for the listener is twelve songs as good as anything in the band’s arsenal thus far.  From the synth-laden opener ‘Passing Through’ it’s a slow burner as the intro fades and the band harks back to a feeling they first laid on audiences way back in the ’80s and Justins narrating vocal is as warm and weathered as ever and as engaging as you’d want it to be.  The track, however, doesn’t open up but merely sets the tone.  Maybe this is something of the mature big brother to ‘Thunder And consolation’ as the acoustic guitar midway through this six-minute epic opener links with the rhythmic drumming before the crunching heaving electric guitar joins the fray.

As far as openers go this is huge and the tone of ‘From Here’ is set. ‘Never Arriving’ is also over five minutes long as Sullivan takes us through his spoken rather than sung lyrics.  The band might have chosen a bleak environment to record in but this record sounds driven and whilst complex its a record that will take some investing in. Sure fans of the band will take that time and give it the attention it deserves but I doubt Justin is looking nor cares for instant fleeting engagement. If you know you know.

There are no two-minute pop songs here rather post four minutes as a rule but the sprightly tempo of ‘The Weather’ with its acoustic strumming is a different texture to the two previous numbers the instruments weave like knotted branches so NMA yet unique and bloody good.

 

I’ve alluded to the fact this record for some reason harks back to the classic heights of ‘Green And Grey’ period for the band although Sullivan is the sole torch-carrier of the band these days it’s in the makeup and ‘End Of Days’ is uptempo and the first track that was released from the record and is a great addition to the catalogue of thumpers written and released by the band.

‘Great Disguise’ builds and builds as Sullivan paints his landscape in your mind’s eye whereas ‘Conversation’ is big broad strokes of that familiar acoustic guitar mixed with rhythmic drums and a story unfolds of travel and landscape earth and water. Sullivan has always done well to paint bleak and cold portraits but in a warm and engaging way it’s what he does really well and this is a great example.

‘Hard Way’ is a darker slower introduction that spends the next four minutes building up and up to layered vocals and heaving bass throb but quickly drops back something of a bloodletting before ushering in ‘Watch And Learn’ with its more aggressive thrust.

‘Maps’ is timpani and cello and maybe driven by the recordings environment with a sense of where you are captured within its tracks as Sullivan sings about his surroundings.  Ending the record with the title track ‘From Here’ is eight minutes of soundscape and sparse piano before the familiar tribal drum patterns signal a rumbling Bassline but you’ll have to wait almost five minutes before an electric guitar chimes in and pierces the trance-like rhythm.

Like I mentioned earlier this might not be the record you want to make your New Model Army debut maybe lock into the best of then come and visit ‘From HEre’ and the experience will be far more rewarding.  Old fans – fill yer boots this is a journey that will take you through multiple emotions pick you up and put you down but always leave you coming back for more.  I’ve enjoyed thus far dipping in here and there and equally immersing from start to finish.  ‘From Here’ will not dissapoint.

Buy ‘From Here’: Here

Author: Dom Daley

Expectations sometimes provide shocks to the system when things prove to be quite different that what you expected. The Poison Boys have released some previous singles/ EPs and material, which I have loved, and I went into this debut album expecting the album to be a more straight forward up tempo punk n roll album. While it is definitely a punk n roll album at its core, these 12 diverse songs make up an album that is diverse, deep, accessible, and a whole lot of fun. I have been following the Poison Boys for a few years now, and I could not be happier with what they have done here. I can imagine everyone from Chuck Berry to Johnny Thunders wanting a chance to come back and guest on this one.

The title track gets the party started and hits my original expectations as it comes on like a cross between the Humpers and Electric Frankenstein. The mix allows the guitar riffs by Matt Dudzik to pop out of the speakers and the bass (mostly Adam Sheets) and drums (mostly Matt Chaney) hit just as hard. ‘Slow Down’ starts with some brief piano notes before everyone else gets in on the action. The riff in the song feels pretty standard, but the song really connects perfectly. I actually thought about old artists like the Big Bopper here as well as someone like the J. Geils Band as this song compels the listener to smile and enjoy the moment. I can picture the glasses in the air as the crowd sings along to the main hook. Another stone cold rock n roll style classic follows in ‘Cut Right Out.’ If anyone out there remembers the likes of Junk Records, this one would have fit like a glove on their roster with those backing ‘wooohs’ settling nicely in the mix. The beat here carries a great groove, guaranteed to get the hips shaking.

Starting on track four with ‘Empty Heart,’ we start to see the band really expanding the songs. The thundering groove of this epic five minute plus song initially may feel a little long, but this one has proven to be a grower with Dudzik’s charismatic vocals being stretched and pulled on the journey. ‘Downtown’ returns to a fairly basic trash rock standard approach with a simple hook that hits the spot. It feels a bit like the Stones jamming with Hanoi Rocks, especially the way some of the guitar pops in the mix where it gets some extra space. I also love the false ending but perhaps I should not give that away. Wrapping up the first half of the album, ‘Up to the Sky’ opens with some acoustic guitar reminding me of Johnny Thunders before the song kicks in at a midtempo pace on this fellow five minute rocker. The acoustic guitar touches really give this album a wonderful depth. Dudzik’s vocals on the chorus really inspire a singalong, even if you are like me and can’t sing a note.

Flip the record over and the good times show no let up with first single/ video ‘Tear Me Apart’ getting it started at breakneck speed. The vocals really take a backseat here with the verses featuring fewer words, and the electrifying guitar riffs pushed to the surface. The hook in the chorus is sharp, but it is the guitar that has stayed with me the most on this one so far. The piano that is featured here and across other songs will hopefully be replicated in the live setting. ‘Desperado’ features some awesome saxophone and again reminds me of early Hanoi Rocks, right down to Dudzik’s vocals, the tasteful backing vocals, and the way the chorus is constructed. This has been one of my early favorites from the record.  Hopefully, the band will get an opportunity to make this a single at some point. Slowing the pace down a bit, ‘True Romance’ simmers along nicely with the groove getting under the skin. The backing ‘woooh’s’ are used again here to awesome effect. When the main chorus hits, it really opens up the whole song with the switch in the dynamics.

‘I Won’t Look Back’ turns the tempo back towards rocket speed with the guitar licks again deserving to be highlighted, but the song itself has been the slowest to connect with me. The band hit trash rock nirvana again with the rollicking ‘Say Goodbye’ reminding me again of the Humpers with the rhythm section nailing this one. Closing song ‘Been Here All Night’ truly feels like it had to be the closer on the album and ends the record on an incredible high. The song shimmies and shakes on the beat with the guitar riffs begging to be played by the listener. Something tells me the guys worked long and hard on this one but knew exactly where it needed to be on the album. It just feels like a celebration musically.

The Poison Boys showcase that there is plenty of magic left in rock n roll over the course of these 12 songs. There has clearly been a ton of heart, sweat, and love used to create this album as these songs drip with the genuine distilled spirits of everything that makes rock n roll amazing. Are the vocals always spotless? Do the instruments hit every note perfectly? Absolutely NOT! This is pure, primal rock n roll the way nature intended. A great summer for music became even better with this album.  Recommended? You should have it put it on order when you started reading my introduction.

‘Out of my Head’ is available Here

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Author: Gerald Stansbury