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Album Review

Mission of Burma, 'The Sound the Speed the Light'

October 5, 2009

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Indie Rock
Mission of Burma The Sound the Speed the Light
Matador
ESSENTIAL “After the Rain’’

Mission of Burma sounds just as inspired today as it did in the early 1980s when the Boston band all-too-briefly carried out an art-punk assault that inspired many and was replicated well by few. Now that Mission of Burma is into its third album since resurfacing in 2002, the band’s patented blend of brainy intricacy and punk economy is somewhat familiar. But there is nothing outright predictable about Burma’s latest, “The Sound the Speed the Light.’’ Guitarist Roger Miller, bassist Clint Conley, drummer Pete Prescott, and producer/tape-loop-manipulator Bob Weston constructed a loose and infectious spin through the band’s oeuvre of militant rhythms, bombastic guitars, and jagged crescendos. We’ve heard these elements before, but not in such persistently lurching manner. The opening sequence of “1, 2, 3, Partyy!,’’ “Possession,’’ and “Blunder’’ is all muscle and mannered menace, as if to say these aging punks are not going anywhere quietly. Yet there are moments - “Good Cheer,’’ “Feed,’’ “After the Rain’’ - when songs glow with the fuel of hard-earned wisdom. Burma’s ragged and raging record is a start-to-finish blast, but don’t miss out on the party’s substance: crafty vocals, heroic guitars, dark humor, steely resolve. (Out tomorrow) SCOTT McLENNAN