Stereo Embers The Podcast: Justin Sullivan (New Model Army)

Written by on 07/01/2021


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“Rip Tides And Clean Horizons”

With his band New Model Army, Justin Sullivan has put out 15 fabulous albums, including such legendary efforts like 1986’s The Ghost Of Cain, 1993’s The Love Of Hopeless Causes and 2019’s From Here. Formed in West Yorkshire in 1980, New Model Army have turned out a bit like The Fall—hard to categorize, defiantly original and boasting a revolving
door of so many members, we could do a podcast on their personnel, alone. Back in the ’80s New Model Army were one of those bands that everyone liked and every group claimed. Goths, mods, metalhead and college rock kids all thought New Model Army were in their camp, but the fact was, New Model Army were in everyone’s camp. They were versatile that way—and part of that versatility was the way that they
stretched the intersectionality of their own music—there were bits of metal and punk and goth and folk in their musical attack and that was what led to their widespread appeal. Career highlights? Oh, they’ve got those. John Peel loved them, they bumped the Smiths from the top slot on the indie charts in ’84, they played the Reading Festival and even opened a gig for Bowie. Sullivan’s new solo album—only his second one overall—is called Surrounded and it’s a stirring effort, filled with introspective Viking ballads and plaintive musings on human nature. He plays with depth and finesse and has quietly turned in one of the best records of 2021. In this chat, Sullivan talks to Alex about how he feels about birthdays and band anniversaries, traveling in the Middle East and why the lockdown made everyone a more extreme version of themselves.

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