New Release (Fire)
Yesterday’s post-punk trailblazers are today’s rock’n’roll powerhouses. When Mission of Burma started in 1979, their manic sophistication and overall ferocity made them a band for adventurous tastes. Ten years and four albums into their unlikely reunion, they sound just as manic and ferocious: Unsound is clearly a reaction to 2010’s The Sound The Speed The Light, on which things were getting a bit comfortable. This time the songs are shorter and spikier, with a few trumpet/keyboard additions to their power-trio format; and the songs are guaranteed to take left turns just when you start humming along. The opening trilogy alone, with one song from each of the band members, is crammed tight with melodic ideas and jagged riffs. There’s a lot to absorb but the overall feel is just plain exhilarating. Burma’s reunion has proved that the band was always more accessible than ‘80s audiences realized; and there’s plenty here that fans of artful power trios — even, say, Canadian ones with an entirely different fanbase — could probably relate to.
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