Thunder and Consolation (EMI, 1989)

New Model Army

Justin Sullivan (vocals, guitars)
Robb Heaton (drums)
Jason "Moose" Harris (bass)
Ed Alleyne-Johnson (violin)

  1. I Love the World
  2. Stupid Questions
  3. 225
  4. Inheritance
  5. Green and Grey
  6. Ballad of Bodmin Pill
  7. Family
  8. Family Life
  9. Vagabonds
  10. 125 MPH (CD only)
  11. Archway Towers
  12. The Charge* (CD only)
  13. Chinese Whispers* (CD only)
  14. Nothing Touches (CD only)
  15. White Coats* (CD only)

Tracks marked with * were first released on the 1987 White Coats EP and were not included on the original vinyl release. 125 MPH was originally the B-side to the Stupid Questions single. Nothing Touches is a previously unreleased song from 1987.

The album

Many of their fans and followers consider this to be the band's finest work ever. Indeed, it's musically mature, emotionally powerful and endowed with some of the best lyrics Sullivan's ever written. While it lacks some of the raw power of the previous two albums, it compensates for it with an amazing show of adult angst that precedes Tool by several years.

In the music and songwriting department, it's a marked departure from their earlier work. Showing their folk influences, the violin and harmonica, played by guest musician Mark Feltham, best known for his long collaboration with Rory Gallagher, are not just prominent by downright brilliant in some tracks. All of it is fundamentally acoustic guitar music, clearly written using a few chords and adding the words before polishing each song into a band and studio piece.

In an obscure reference to Sullivan's background, "Son of Thunder and Consolation" was a title used by Quaker writer Edward Burrough who died in prison during the persecution of Quakers by the regime of Oliver Cromwell.

Should I buy it?

To be honest, you can't get an unbiased answer to that question from me. This is one of my all-time favourites. If you like your music powerful, loud and angry, it might be for you. This album is the polar opposite of sedate. It deserves to be heard and is probably the band's most approachable work so, yes, go ahead and get it.

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