One of the greatest and most influential post-punk bands of all time; at the height of their early career Mission Of Burma shared stages with the likes of Sonic Youth, Gang Of Four, Pere Ubu and Black Flag, as their acclaimed live shows became legendary and were known for being some of the loudest. On their way to commercial success, they split in 1983 when Roger Miller’s tinnitus became too severe. Following the break-up, musicians like Nirvana, Fugazi and Pixies began citing them as a major influence and covers began to emerge from REM, Moby, Graham Coxon and Syd Straw.
Mission of Burma reformed in 2002 and had since recorded four more albums ‘ONoffON’, ‘The Obliterati’, ‘The Sound The Speed The Light’ and in 2012 their fifth full-length album, ‘Unsound’ for Fire Records. From the outset, ‘Unsound’ was not going to be like any other Mission of Burma album. As expected, the material is raw, primal and aggressive. They still have a signature knack for twisting even the most ferocious noise into complex structures. There are, of course, those killer hooks scattered throughout, but just not quite where you would expect. Yet with all three lead members resolutely making the decision to deliberately stretch their boundaries even further, they stepped out of their comfort zone to create their most rewarding, bewildering and multifaceted long-player yet.
In July 2015 Fire Records reissued Mission Of Burma debuts ‘Vs’ (LP) and ‘Signals, Calls and Marches’ (EP) as part of the Fire Archive reissue series.
Originally released in 1981 ‘Signals, Calls and Marches’ is an explosive and hard-hitting EP with post-punk, hardcore and leftfield sensibilities. The accomplished debut offers up instant classics, ‘That’s When I Reach For My Revolver’ and ‘Academy Fight Song’ which had a raw immediacy that resonated with their fans and the punk movement. Their anthemic rock, complex arrangements and intelligent lyricism stood them apart and proved them to be a powerful force from the offset.
Their subsequent album ‘Vs’, released in 1982, was to be Mission Of Burma’s only full-length studio album with the original line up before disbanding. Noise driven and melodic throughout, they kick off proceedings with ‘Secrets’ where Clint Conley’s vocals contrast Roger Miller’s unrestrained outbursts. ‘New Nails’ fiercely attacks religion where Miller’s repetitive cries of ‘don’t make an idol of me’ leave a lasting impression before tackling mental decline on ‘Mica’. Unyielding with acerbic energy, ‘Vs’ angular and abrasive post-punk combines raucous power chords and Peter Prescott’s dynamic drumming with heavy bass lines, all of it bound by Martin Swope’s subtle tape manipulations which seep into the subconscious. The album was produced by Rick Harte founder of the Ace Of Hearts record label, who had also produced their debut single and EP. The acclaimed LP also featured in Pitchfork’s ‘Top 100 albums of the 1980s’ with them hailing it as “a massive legacy”.