June 15, 2006

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Mission of Burma, The Obliterati
Matador, 2006

If one song sums up Mission of Burma’s The Obliterati, it’s “Careening with Conviction.” Actually, that title pretty much sums up everything about this recently reunited, highly influential Boston post-punk band. If 2004’s excellent OnOffOn was merely a “reunion” record, The Obliterati cements these aging rockers’ return to the fold and puts to rest any questions as to whether or not Mission of Burma still matters in the 21st century.

The new album is considerably more aggressive. Just check out rousing rave-ups like, “2wice,” “Let Yourself Go,” and “Spider’s Web,” if you don’t believe me. Guitarist Roger Miller finds ever new and challenging ways to terrorize his fret board with echoing riffs and squealing feedback skronk on tracks like, “1001 Pleasant Dreams,” and the silly but sincere ode to ‘70s disco divas “Donna Sumeria.”

Of course, bassist Clint Conley remains Burma’s strongest songwriter, his knack for crafting supremely catchy hooks remains ever present on “Man in Decline,” and the oddball closer “Nancy Reagan’s Head,” (“No way that thing came with that body,” Conley insists in the chorus).

Oh yes — Mission of Burma often mixes politics with their songs (they’re known to take the stage with a banner proclaiming, “NO NEW MCCARTHY ERA”), so if you prefer music that is empty, innocuous, inoffensive and offers nothing outside of instant gratification, I’d recommend staying far away from The Obliterati. Buy that stupid Gnarls Barkley record instead. A

— Adam Marletta.


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