Friday, 20 March 2015

50 songs to take to my grave #27: Green & Grey

There are some songs that, when I hear them, I can't stop myself from singing along with them very loudly (and, as MrsRobster is always keen to remind me, very badly). This is one of them.

In fairness, there is a whole heap of other New Model Army songs that could have made this list - Here Comes The War, Stupid Questions, March In September, I Love The World - in fact the whole of 'Thunder And Consolation' album from 1989 (and from which Green & Grey is taken) is a serious contender for my 20+ Albums list. But the very first time I heard Green & Grey I was struck by its genuine feeling of sadness for a lost friend; how that friend left the valleys community they were raised in for bigger and better things; and how those left behind are still thinking of him/her, in spite of said friend seemingly forgetting all about them.

The one thing you do get with New Model Army is genuine feeling. In Justin Sullivan they have a remarkable singer who you can really believe. You wouldn't dare argue with the fella, such is the persuasiveness of his delivery. As well as sadness, Sullivan conveys resentment and a touch of anger at his old friend, yet the love remains even if it's not expressed explicitly.

  "And tomorrow brings another train
  Another young brave steals away
  But you're the one I remember
  From these valleys of the green and the grey."

Green & Grey is one of New Model Army's best songs, no doubt, but it's also one of their most emotive, most touching. However good 'Thunder and Consolation' is as an album, however good the band's entire back catalogue is - and if you compile all their singles you'll get an idea just how strong that is - there is one song that stands tall over all the rest.

New Model Army are still going from strength to strength. Their last couple of releases have been top notch, 2013's 'Between Dog And Wolf' in particular is as good a record as they've ever made. But it's Green & Grey that I keep coming back to.


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