Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Can I count on you if I fall apart?



December 1st: The countdown is now ON. No doubt you all awoke early to open the first window of your advent calender? Good good...

Well, are Mission Of Burma the best band to come out of Boston? Who knows. I know a few people that would disagree with that afterall. What I would say is that their music has aged really well, and they continue to influence bands to this day; bands like the Pixies, Nirvana and even bands like The Futureheads owe a lot of Mission of Burma. I shouldn’t really say that Vs (1985) and their other scattered recording (EP’s/ Live albums) have aged well, because I mean, they’re still going aren’t they? OnOffOn (2004) might be the first record Mission of Burma have recorded in twenty one years, but it really does destroy any myth that their legacy lives on because of their relatively short (1979–1983) career, and I know many people who would consider that album to be one of the best records released this year. Formed in February 1979 when guitarist/vocalist Roger Miller and bassist/vocalist Clint Conley, decided to join forces with drummer/vocalist Peter Prescott, who had just parted company with the Molls. Mission of Burma worked as a trio until they could draft in another member (Martin Swope) to fully realise the sound they wanted to create. Vs is the culmination of all their work, and perhaps the greatest artefact on this band.

The album is just a relentless sonic assault of the senses. Walls of feedback, crushing bass sounds and discordant riffs - Mission of Burma explored sound that only emerges when you play music as loud as this band did. If you had to label them with Proto punk (Stooges), art punk (Gang of Four) and even the first wave bands (Buzzcocks)that often referenced when attempting to analyse their influences, you also have to understand that they were much more than that. I mentioned before that this band played loud, and only when you consider that Roger Miller's extreme tinnitus (ringing of the ears) prevented the band from even carrying on, can you really understand how loud they actually played. But it wasn’t just about the sound they created. Their lyrics were often witty, insightful, and tinged with dark images of paranoia and isolation. Mission of Burma truly deserve to be ranked alongside the greatest of American rock bands, and Vs is one the greatest albums released in the 80’s.

I was going to share “That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate” with you all, but since I own the remastered version of the original CD, I thought I’d include one of the bonus tracks. I know, I know, the four extra tracks weren’t on the album and shouldn’t really be included, but it’s a great tune.

Mission of Burma - Forget

Please buy the album at Insound or wherever else you see the special edition (remastered/ extra tracks) CD...They also have a website. Get on it.

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