New Model Army

Lost Songs

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They sat on these 22 LP outtakes, demos, and live recordings of unknown songs all the past decade? Why!? OK, then, releasing a two-CD compendium with all the lyrics and leader Justin Sullivan's notes in the booklet is the right way to go. And, like their typically amazing 1994 import, B-Sides and Abandoned Tracks, Lost Songs is as much a must-have as their better, proper LPs. So far removed from some malnourished, cobbled-out-of-stray-dogs cash-in, each of these epics is fully realized and ponderous (all new save for a reworked, savory remix of Strange Brotherhood's "Over the Wire" and "Song to the Men of England"). They're as full as ever of Sullivan's hyper-intelligent, no-bullsh*t, profoundly human observations and post-punk, tuneful gifts. The whole buzz underneath the fabulous chugger "Southwest" (a rare B-side from "Wonderful Way to Go"), with its cogent chorus hook of, "I'd drown your violence in a sea of blood!," is the sort of amazingly powerful stuff Sullivan seems to have coming out of pockets in his jacket! And no two songs are cut from the same mold, yet it always sounds so recognizable. Witness the instant classic "Far Better Thing," bizarrely left off 1990's Impurity, when any other band would have made it their emphasis single! Or the, ominous, bare "Rainy Night 65." Or the live jump of "BD7." If you've not already bought a copy of 2000's Eight, 1998's Strange Brotherhood, or 1993's The Love of Hopeless Causes, you're better off starting there (if not the first three hot LPs, 1984-1986). But really, you could start with just about anything with NMA's name on it. And fan-considering collections such as this are an assist.

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