Mission of Burma
The Obliterati

By Andrew Lyman

Mission of Burma’s biggest problem is that they recorded the album Vs. - an album that cast an inescapable shadow over one of the best bands to have ever played, broken up, and gotten back together. To begin, Vs. is an album of unparalleled scope and energy. I first got my hands on Vs. when I was only 13. It was lost on me at a time when I was in the throes of hardcore-punk fanaticism. Sometime after those first few listens, a few years later, I suddenly appreciated it as one of the best albums I have ever heard, and played it on a more consistent basis than anything else I owned. But something happened. It now sounds like an album about to fall apart; barely held together by impossibilities. Even on the slower numbers there is some barely suppressed force just on the verge of breaking through. Vs. is one of the most accurate recordings of a band’s energy and power in the history of rock music. The songs are intricately and bizarrely structured. There is strange timing, and layers and layers of activity. It literally heaves and sputters. It approximates a physical being, or a machine whirring faster and faster out of control. Some of the most interesting melodies are on that record, and out of the chaos, hooks! Pop hooks, and some of the best. This is a band that can do whatever they want and do it well. Roger Miller’s near metallic guitar jabs at all levels of the mix. Its just power, plain and simple, and it’s beautiful. It’s absolutely fucking beautiful. It’s a Swiss Army Knife of an album. Its an inexplicable event where every element is better than it ever should have been.

Mission of Burma had a lot to live up to. They are still one of the most compelling, dynamic groups making music today. They sound more fresh than the youngest and newest of the hot, young groups. They don’t sound like a band cashing in on its old glory; they sound like a glorious band. They still write the most inventive (insert musical tag here) around. If Mission of Burma wasn’t Mission of Burma The Obliterati would be a stellar album. Its gripping from start to finish. It paces its self remarkably. It’s timeless. It's energetic, it’s beautiful, it’s fun, and it’s creative. It is Mission of Burma. There is no exception. The only claim against it is this: what on Vs. sounded like a band on the verge of boiling over, now sounds like a band with the heat turned up. Still a commendable comment for any band, let alone one that has released two very strong and distinct albums since being apart for nearly 20 years. The chaos is lacking, and if anything, Mission of Burma is slightly weakened without it. They are tighter and cleaner; their hooks are even sharper, but the horrible truth about Mission of Burma is that they are the most awe inspiring when they are tight and clean, despite all logic. The restraint is more impressive when only achieved through great effort. I love Mission of Burma, but Vs. will never be equaled. If it is, I sincerely hope someone will come by to pick my jaw up off the floor.

All opinions expressed by Andrew Lyman are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.

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