NEW MODEL ARMY'S hyperdrive anthems keep alive the spirit of England's decade-old punk-rock explosion, but with the band's own unprecedented historical consciousness: the original New Model Army was Oliver Cromwell's anti-royalist force, after all, and the current incarnation has been known to sing love ballads to the Magna Carta.
The three new songs on this EP, which include a power-chord rewrite of "The Charge of the Light Brigade," are characteristically rousing but not among the band's best. The flip side, which showcases the hard-hitting trio as live act, is the better introduction; incendiary renditions of such politically charged rockers as "51st State" and "My Country" show just how devastating the group's attack can be.
Irish folk-rocker Andy White doesn't have quite the battering-ram urgency of the Army, but he's hardly the retiring folkie. From the first rollicking notes of "The Soldier's Sash," "Rave On Andy White" is an energetic, melodically assured record. White offers both smart love songs and a mordant tour of Belfast that skewers everything from religious feuding ("Nothing's gonna change/Till religion/Is rearranged) to rock philanthropy ("I got back to Belfast . . . Saw a Band Aid covering the cancer"). Supported by traditional and electric instruments, White draws on both the fevered lyricism of classic Dylan and the post-punk directness of Billy Bragg.
NEW MODEL ARMY -- "New Model Army" (Capitol ST-46928).
ANDY WHITE -- "Rave On Andy White" (MCA MCA-5946). Both appearing Friday at the 9:30 Club.