Under Review: Mission Of Burma – The Sound The Speed The Light

Mission Of Burma’s original run yielded material so influential, so innovative, so unabashedly awesome that even three-quarters of the men behind those recordings, try as they might, cannot recapture that magic today.  However, you can’t fault them for trying.  Back together since 2002(with Bob Weston replacing Martin Swope on tapes…more on that later), MoB have more than doubled their original output with the release of The Sound The Speed The Light, an album that is unmistakably Burma.  Even if the new songs don’t match classics like “Academy Fight Song” or “Peking Spring,” they are certainly some of the best of the resurrected-Burma era.  Vocal and songwriting duties are shared, as usual, and the roles haven’t changed much over the years: bassist Clint Conley provides the melodic hooks, guitarist Roger Miller the feedback and fuzz and drummer Peter Prescott the focused-yet-fluid rhythms.  Also as always, the band’s secret weapon is the silent fourth member who, in this case, also produced the album.  Weston’s tapes take on many forms: bright organs on “SSL 83,” spooky hums on “Forget Yourself,” and the most cumbersome delay pedal on “Possession.”  It’s hard to say whose songs are best this time around, because each of the vocalists brings a pretty solid batch of tunes to the party.  Conley’s “SSL 83” is a fine centerpiece, Miller’s “Slow Faucet” recalls the atmospheric tone of Vs., and Prescott’s songs (particularly “Good Cheer”) always seem to make me giggle a bit.  If there’s one song that should be added to the mythic Burma canon, it’s Miller’s “So Fuck It,” which has been a live favorite for some time.  They may never have really been punk rockers, but Mission Of Burma’s mere perseverance is enough to inspire musicians and artists alike.  Then again, I’m not judging them, I’m judging me.

~ by E. on September 30, 2009.

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