1998, December / New Model Army
New Model Army albums are uncompromising and jagged. Full of expectancy and dynamics. Yet Strange Brotherhood never really gets off the ground and certainly never soars the way the band did on any of their prior recordings. Almost lacking in passion, the album sprawls with a dissipated energy, all the more surprising given the four years since The Love of Hopeless Causes. Violinist Ed Alleyne Johnson is noticed in his absence. The inclusion of strings and even a brass section never bring the spark necessary to ignite the album. There are moments of drama, angst, and passion. "Killing" threatens, the horns on "Gigabyte Wars" add a welcome flourish, and "What a Wonderful Way to Go" is the type of tune New Model Army is best suited to, a rocking heavy-handed passionate punk-folk stormer. Yet overall, the whole album is worthy yet never outstanding. The 12 songs blend all too easily, and the album passes by without leaving any lasting impression.