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Phases & Stages

Record review

Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, May 26, 2006, Music

Mission of Burma

The Obliterati (Matador)

Tongue firmly in cheek and amps turned to 11, Mission of Burma have delivered an uncompromising palate of post-punk vitriol since 1980. After the release of 2004's stellar ONoffON, and a subsequent reunion tour, the Boston quartet obviously still has an itch to scratch. Under the production of tape manipulator Bob Weston, who replaces original member Martin Swope, Obliterati is unconcerned with current haircut fads and "angular" guitars. Standouts "1001 Pleasant Dreams" and "13" wipe down the band's more melodic side, while "Spider's Web" and "Let Yourself Go" sound just as urgent and bottom-heavy as anything MoB throttled 20 years ago, meshing Clint Conley's low-end rumble with Roger Miller's jittery axe. The Conley/Miller harmonies are still perfect, especially on the faux disco of "Donna Sumeria," which shimmies into a chorus of breathy "I want love" and squalling feedback. The 14 tracks chug and careen without turning into one big song, staying anthemic, especially the delicious closer, "Nancy Reagan's Head" ("No way that thing came with that body!"), which revisits the era that spawned this band, an era just as fucked as the one unfolding right now.


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