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Mission Of Burma - The Sound, the Speed, the Light

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 11 / 12 / 2009

Mission Of Burma - The Sound, the Speed, the Light
Label: Matador Records
Format: CD


Compelling fourth album from influential Boston-based alt.rock band, Mission of Burma

Mission Of Burma lasted originally for just four years between 1979 and 1983, but left a big impression on alt. rock, their first single, 'Academy Fight Song', being covered by two of my favourite American bands of all time, REM and Miracle Legion. 2009 sees them release only their fourth ever album, 'The Sound the Speed the Light', and like its predecessors has guitarist Roger Miller, bassist Clint Conleyb and drummer Peter Prescott sharing vocals. It follows on from their 2004 and 2006 albums, 'ONoffON' and 'The Obliterati'. The band originally split, having just released a single studio album, 'Vs' in 1982, when the effect of the loudness of their playing was a factor in Roger Miller suffering from tinnitus. 'The Sound the Speed the Light' opens with '1,2,3 Party!'which sounds like the Ramones or the New York Dolls at their wildest. 'Possession' is the work of a real rock band with a history, something like a groovy Gang of Four, while Clint Conley's bass line has an element of the Smiths 'This Charming Man'. The whole track is very progressive in an Americana/new wave fashion, but never loses any of the band's original raw punk spirit. 'Blunder' opens with guitar work from Miller, before becoming much more beefy in sound. The guitar jangles in a way that one can hear why they were such a big influence on REM. 'Forget Yourself' is a slow burner. As it slowly warms up, it eventually becomes more rocky, eventually sounding like the Velvet Underground at their most experimental. 'After the Rain' is a punky upbeat 60's style garage number, 'SSL 83', which stands for the title of the album and also symbolises the fact that the band folded in 1983, has a strange feel, recalling at one level Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, but having more thrashy guitar. 'One Day We Will Live There' is a shouted number reminiscent of early punk bands such as the Pistols and the Ramones. 'So F**k It' is like a thrashy combination of the Smiths and NYC Punk, while 'Feed' has all the seductive charm of the Velvet Underground doing 'Pale Blue Eyes'. 'Good Cheer' starts off as a blues track and finishes up sounding like the Ramones. 'Comes Undone' is like an angry Jam number, while 'Slow Faucet' whixch closes the album shows again a band in control of their destiny. It is a song in two parts, that shows that they are truly special.

Track Listing:-
1 1, 2, 3, Partyy!
2 Possession
3 Blunder
4 Forget Yourself
5 After The Rain
6 SSL 83
7 One Day We Will Live There
8 So Fuck It
9 Feed
10 Good Cheer
11 Comes Undone
12 Slow Faucet

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Interview (2013)
Mission Of Burma - Interview
Paul Waller speaks to Roger Miller from seminal Boston-based post-punk act Mission of Burma about his group's influential early releases, their reformation after two decades apart and latest album, last year's 'Unsound'

live reviews

Dingwalls, London, 13/5/2010
Mission Of Burma - Dingwalls, London, 13/5/2010
Anthony Strutt at Dingwalls in London watches an uninspiring set of noisy, repetitive new wave from 1970's Boston-based punks, Mission of Burma
Koko, London, 22/5/2006


Profile (2005)
Mission Of Burma - Profile
Often criminally over-looked, Mission of Burma made some of the most influential post punk of the late 70's and early 80's. Mark Rowland looks back on the Boston rockers all-too-short career

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