Review: OnoffOn by Mission Of Burma
Nobody wanted to love the last Mission Of Burma CD more than I did. A year ago I was just reaching the climax of my born-again fanaticism for them after listening to “Dumbells” for the first time in years. Fans of Big Black’s “Kerosene” would love this track. This made me throw on the 2-LP Rykodisc collection and between “This Is Not A Photograph” and “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate” I wondered if they had a death cult I could join. My eyes still roll into the back of my head when the latter track opens with someone simply speaking the name of the song.
Well, sadly, OnoffOn isn’t very good, regardless of what fawning critics have written. It’s fa-la-las instead of unplanned yells and slow when it should be fast. Even worse, the harmonies are off-key. It opens strongly with “The Setup” but quickly devolves into some weird thrash-hippie revival of Godspell or Let My People Come. Or something.
When Lionel Hutz finishes suing the makers of The Neverending Story for false advertising, I'll have him milk Mission of Burma for the same practice. OnoffOn is a MOB side-project, one of many. I'll gladly head back twenty years for some real Mission Of Burma.
I listen to this every so often to see if there's some hidden genius at work. I downplayed Sugar whilst still a Husker Du purist but changed my mind fairly quickly. OnoffOn will have "The Setup" burned off it and then I'll trade it in. For the love of Pete, Track 9 is a silent track used to separate the cd into 2 sets. How, uh, artful that is.
That said, if you don't own Signals, Calls and Marches and Vs. the hole in your music collection is gaping. Mission of Burma are gawd.