Sunday, December 9, 2012

Honorable Mention: Mission of Burma - Unsound

Mission of Burma has had the most impressive reunion of any long dormant band ever (sorry Dinosaur Jr).  After releasing just one EP and one album, both of which are classics, they initially broke up in 1983 due to their guitarist Roger Miller’s tinnitus, which was undoubtedly worsened by the group’s notoriously loud concerts.  They reunited in 2002, and have since release four albums, all of which sit comfortably alongside their previous musical heights (although none of them quite match their first album Vs.).  The most recent of these albums is Unsound, and it might be the best of their revival.  Peter Prescott's drums still chug like a more hectic version of Krautrock’s motorik rhythms, Miller plays his guitar with the same urgency and angular style that he had thirty years ago, and Bob Weston’s tape manipulations keep things suitably out there, especially on “Semi-Pseudo-Sort-of Plan.”  Clint Conley remains the group’s secret weapon, and his heavy metallic bass lines manage to be simultaneously funky and industrial.  This ability to maintain their trademark style so late into their career would be nothing without good songs, and Unsound has them in spades.  “Fell-->H20” is one of the heaviest songs they’ve ever done, while songs like “Part the Sea” and “Dust Devil” are as anthemic and easy to shout along to as anything on Signals, Calls, and Marches.  And they can still add exciting new textures into their sound, such as the horns on “ADD in Unison,” and “What They Tell Me.”  In every way, Mission of Burma is the model for old bands looking to reunite after decades off.

Mission of Burma - "Dust Devil"

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