Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mission of Burma ... like they've been here all along

I've been covering the Burma revival since almost before it started. My first interview with Clint Conley was about Consonant as much as it was about Burma, and I've talked to him (and Peter but never Roger) a couple of times since, seen them live 4-5 times and reviewed every record.

So, naturally, I reviewed Unsound, and it struck me that this is the record where they stop being a reunion band, where they stop making up for lost time, where they simply start thrashing onward wherever their sound might lead, as if they'd been playing together the whole time.

Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma is not a reunion band anymore, if it ever was. You could read OnOffOn as a tentative reclamation of the noise melodists' art. You could listen to The Obliterati and The Sound the Speed the Light as increasingly confident, even triumphant expansions on the band's earliest principles. But Unsound, coming a decade into Burma's second run, sounds like the kind of record an adventurous band that's always been together might make, like Sonic Youth in the early 1990s say. It's grounded in a distinct, historically-rooted aesthetic, but not tied down to it. Listening to Unsound gives you a glimpse of a band that's not confined by its legacy.


So here's what I could be working on now, music-wise, what do you think I should do?>
1) Thinking of questions for Ariel Pink
2) Thinking of questions for John Dwyer
3) Writing a review of last night's Hold Steady/Mount Carmel show
4) Reviewing Mark Fosson's Digging in the Dust
5) Screwing around listening to stuff I've dumped on the iPod and playing web sudoku


Jean-Luc Garbo said...

Your focus on their legacy is why I'm glad you wrote this review. After hearing the last album and seeing them live, I really wondered where else they could go after honing their craft so wonderfully. It felt like they had nothing else to prove and only a lot for the rest of us to learn. So it's great you summed it up so well.

jenniferpkelly said...

Thanks Andrew, this is one of my favorite bands at least partly because they would stop if they didn't feel like they were making progress.