Friday, May 07, 2004

Mission of Burma are back, in all their dissonant glory. They've released their second album twenty years after calling it quits, due to Roger Miller's ear damage, after too few people understood the first. (But, like with the Velvet Underground, it seems like just about everyone who did went off and started a band).

You and I return to the scene of the crime
Let's go out and wash our sins away
Everyone's an actor in this play
Trading lines with roving phantoms.

It says something about the band that even reviewers who like the new record can't agree whether it sounds like the old stuff or not. They're still experimenting, and some of the experiments are new, including a lovely acoustic track that trades the feedback and drums for a violin and a cello, leaving at least one reviewer wondering what it's doing on a Burma record in the first place.

There is one more or less topical song -- Wounded World, which was written when George Bush was attacking our former proxy in Iraq, stayed on the shelf for years while Dick Cheney's Halliburton sold drilling equipment to Saddam's Iraq, and was finally recorded a decade later when George Bush was attacking Iraq:

Another year, another friend or foe
Burn their cities, scorch the earth below
The times have changed and so too have our needs
This time it's you on which the fire feeds
Fire feeds...

But that's a bit heavy handed. As lyrics go, I'm more fond of, say, What We Really Were -- a tuneful ode to lost loves and lost innocence:

Of course, you must know that it did all end.
How then to recall what we really were?
Of course, you must know that it did all end.
Nothing that perfect or simple ever lasts
For long...

Which reminds me a bit of the one science fiction character I know of to have me on her blogroll. (As distinct from, say, science fiction editors, which is really a different sort of thing -- though not, to be sure, any less important). But I'm not sure Mission of Burma would really be her cup of tea...


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