Mad-scientist rock: Mission of Burma
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
10/13/09 at 9:05 AM
Mission of Burma's disordered aural logic is arresting. All at once, bass lines sprint, vocals shamble, drums punt angry rhythm, guitars wickedly bleat. When those elements collide in the band's bare melodic space, it's nothing short of dizzying — and hypnotic.
The band's newest, "The Sound The Speed The Light," is raucous, loud and magnificently confusing. The album's 12 tracks are more or less divided into four "suites" including three songs each. The band claims the tunes explore colors. More accurately, they explore rational realms steeped in irrational emotion, from delinquency to covetousness to elation to anguish.
This Boston band formed in 1979 had four hugely influential post-punk years, then disbanded. Irrepressible, it reformed in 2002 with the lineup of Roger Miller on guitar and vocals, Peter Prescott on drums and vocals, Clint Conley on bass and vocals, and Bob Weston as engineer, helping the controls, tape loops and spacious audio dynamic.
This is one of only a handful of studio albums from the band in all those years, and it follows 2006's roar of "The Obliterati."
Nearly half the tracks on "The Sound The Speed The Light" clock in at under three minutes. "Good Cheer" blends the act's trademark "at-odds" noises: punky drums, jazzy bass, eerie breaks and snarky lyrics about eternal optimists. It's like a hug after a punch to the groin. "Slow Faucet" is at once relentlessly discordant
poppy, combining woozy vocal harmonies with hoarse shouts and soldierlike drumwork. "Forget Yourself" immerses itself in a shimmering brine of oblivion, replete with mesmerizing drum rolls and cunning, off-kilter vocals.
Mission of Burma's newest is mad scientist-controlled chaos: It's unadulterated, intoxicating, anthemic rock 'n' roll.
THE SOUND THE SPEED OF LIGHT
Artist: Mission of Burma
Available at: Online and
digital retailers and at
Release date: out now on
Rating: 92 (out of 100)
Download: “Good Cheer,”
“Slow Faucet,” “1, 2, 3