Jack Daniel Betz
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Unsound – Mission of Burma

Unsound – Mission of Burma
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By Jack Daniel Betz

Before MoB released Unsound last month, I had no idea that they’d done any studio albums since they reunited in 02. I just figured we had the classic “Signals, Calls, and Marches” and “Vs.” and that was it. Roger Miller’s hearing has been in tatters since the mid ’80s, so I figured it was safe to just continue on with the assumption. Well, apparently this is their fourth full-length since coming back together and it is heavy.

To get a feel for the post-reunion albums, I compared Unsound to 2009’s “The Sound, The Speed, The Light” and the former is far heavier, rather than tending toward more harmonic, radio-friendliness as MoB can at some moments. If there’s any song on here that sounds uncompromisingly like golden era Mission of Burma, it’s “Second Television”with it’s over-the-top punk energy but clean guitars.

Other gems on here include “Fell–>H20” with chugging guitars, galloping bass lines, and doom-ridden lyrics. “What They tell Me” features something I never thought I would hear on a Mission of Burma album: horns. Somehow it works out pretty well and adds to the track’s the power. “7’s” also manages to conjure up a good classic MoB sound.

Ans a random closing thought: it’s very pleasing to hear that MoB is still able to do those almost Who-like oohs and ahhs on certain tracks. What other punk or post-punk band does that? There’s plenty of ohhhs–but ooohs, now that’s rare!