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Product details

Disc: 1
1. 2wice
2. Spider's Web
3. Donna Sumeria
4. Let Yourself Go
5. 1001 Pleasant Dreams
6. Good, Not Great
7. 13
8. Man In Decline
9. Careening With Conviction
10. Birthday
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Bonus DVD

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Great for both new and diehard fans 29 May 2006
By Careful Critic - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Shortest possible description: Explosively wonderful.

The difference between this and the previous "new era" release, OnOffOn, is virtually night-and-day. Whereas OnOffOn seemed often willfully difficult to listen to, more of a "fans-only" release, The Obliterati is *gloriously* listenable, and at NO compromise to the values or inventiveness that make Burma great. If one has never heard Burma before, THIS is the one to start with. (And then, once "warmed up," that same new listener should dive into the deep end of their original tour de force, Vs.)

I'm most struck by how TUNEFUL this is, often almost sweet-sounding, but without being as catchy or hook-laden as Signals, Calls & Marches (or the Gun to a Head collection). But make no mistake, Burma's wonderful racket and cacophony are live and well here. It's tuneful as a borderline condition, not an overriding condition, and doesn't cost any of Burma's tendency to thwart your expectations. ("1001 Pleasant Dreams" might sum up their jangle of dissonant momentum best for a new listener - melodically enchanting while defying strict harmony, creating a ringing echo around them as they barrel forward.)

Bob Weston mixed this one, and his sonic judgement sounds nearly impeccable - Burma's sound modulated for the 21st Century, more "feet-firmly-planted" than OnOffOn. "Good, Not Great" is a *fantastic* example of pulling this off (and I wish it was twice as long). "Man in Decline" and "Careening with Conviction" similarly bring Burma's sonic adventurism "up to date" without losing any by translation. Their original sound never dated badly to begin with (and Vs. not at ALL), but this album sounds truly current.

Perhaps the most perpetual strength of the record is Conley's muscularity of his bass. Is it my imagination or is he knocking himself out even harder on Miller's tracks than his own? That bass has always been the foundation of Burma's unique melodic delivery, but outdoes himself for this new album. His playing seem most evolved of the lineup, probably learned from playing so many live shows in the last couple of years. And of course his vocals remain a timeless hallmark of punk *singing* (as opposed to shouting), especially on the closing tracks of this batch.

Prescott's drumming is more EVEN than ever before, which is half-good. I miss the sublime tempo sensibility of Vs., quite a bit, but his less halting nature here keeps this record moving more briskly from beginning to end. (Vs., by comparison, tended to force the listener to pick his jaw up off the floor more often. He's less "show-stealing" here, seeming to cede more rhythmic limelight to Conley.) Thankfully, he's in full form for the album's magnificent finale, "Nancy Reagan's Head."

Miller finds many more new sounds to squeeze out of his guitar, consistently wonderfully, and yet all with the hallmark Burma sonic attack that makes no mistake which band we're listening to. (And every time Miller shines, Weston's inspired mix does as well.) His songwriting, by comparison, seems half-derived from the Burma tradition and half from his No Man phase (not to be confused with the independent band who swiped that name). His Win! Instantly! melodic croon surfaces frequently here (especially in "13"), as opposed to OnOffOn, which borrowed more (two tracks literally) from How the West Was Won. (So that's worth noting, if you can't get enough of Miller, to seek those Miller/No Man albums out - start with West, which is more "crunchy," then backtrack to Instantly, which is more smooth.)

One quality of this whole ensemble that must be noted is the tremendous LACK of ego in this band. The sound of teamwork is unusually discernable, and neither does this record suffer from any arrogance or self-importance, unusual for a "reunion act" who's risen to such acclaim as they have. Rock music as a genre would benefit from more of the humility that's evident in this band and projects audibly from this record. It's surely half the secret sauce to this material sounding so fresh and unusual.

So all told, I'd call this a five-star album (as opposed to Vs.' seven) because it seems impeccable, virtually perfect, and quite great (if not beyond-belief transcendent). Its only drawback might be a slight overall evenness, by which casual listeners will miss many of its embedded wonders, but in turn could be recommended to a new listener with a wholeheartedness I couldn't muster at all for OnOffOn. It sounds GREAT on the very first listen, and just keeps getting better.

And this will surely satisfy diehard Burma fans as not just a great new chapter, but as a sign that this band is truly back in business with new laser-focus, and lots more greatness to come.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Thank you Boston! 24 May 2006
By teachmeplease - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Just got this today. I was a big fan of their last album and saw them on tour in 2004. After a few listens (and any Mission of Burma albums requires a few to settle in), this is an amazing album. They are still masters of the unexpected, and find ways to incorporate tuneful, even funky (Nicotene Bomb on last album, Donna Sumeria on this one) elements into their crunchy noise. Roger Miller has an instantly recognizable guitar sound, but what's crazy is that Clint's style is almost as instantly recognizable, no small feat for a bass player. I'm not happy that they didn't include lyrics in the album insert, but I'm sure they can be found somewhere. If you are a MOB fan, you will be happy for several weeks after getting this -- I give this album two more days until I think it's better than Vs. Of all the 80s reunion bands (Gang of Four, Pixies et al) MOB are by far the most alive.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Sounds of Confusion, trebled by a taut trio 9 Jun. 2006
By John L Murphy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Admirable accomplishment considering the artists and many of us who have followed MOB since the start are pushing fifty! I compare this effort to the recent releases by one of their few peers who have reformed and are stil rethinking their music: Wire. Both bands with all original members (nearly for MoB--tapes and production being longtime cohort Weston and not Swope, admittedly). This cohesion adds heft to this album that only a band three decades or so at it can boast. Like Wire, MoB in their 2000s incarnation builds upon their earlier work with added intensity--and density. The concentrated power that Weston's production combined with Prescott's drums--they keep the tunes from spinning off--Conley's bass: he moves the music around and laterally and tangentially, no mean feat given the assaultive tones around his instrument; Miller's guitar: he seems to be branching out a bit more here hearkening back to Vs more than On/Off, and getting interested in combining volume with depth.

This album does rank alongside Vs, and that's no hyperbole. Like Vs., this new one does bludgeon you so forceful is its attack. But more subtlety does emerge in the layered production--which needs to be amplified considerably for you to appreciate its sonic punch--and the playfulness of the arrangements. I don't know if it's five stars only because it either needs a few years to sink in fully (as was needed for me to grapple with and truly comprehend what was intended in their original work) or that it shares the MOB aesthetic of controlled chaos alongside studio craft, and that it simply sounds distinctive and harder to place alongside nearly any other band, then or now.

Come to think of it, VS after a while becomes hard to take in as a whole, so monolithic is its approach that steamrolls over you as a listener shrinking in awe at its exertion. For the Obliterati (nice pun), the tension is taut and then loosened a bit in the variety of songs and moods. Still, as a whole, the scale of this album is as towering as any of its predecessors, and it stands out as more architecturally founded before the musicians made the final product. That is, more than On/Off, this new record shows that the four musicians involved have all worked out their parts, perhaps with the renewed energy from their reunion tours, that flows well into these grooves.

This album does lurch about, like any MoB record. All of their records seem to have rather oddly sequenced orders of songs; here the Metallica-lite meditation on Judas, "13," and the next one, fittingly titled "Man in Decline", merge into one another surprisingly, and the next song "Careening" again returns to a morbid take on religion before the songs then reach out a bit more to the earlier tracks 3 + 4, where the album finally gained its momentum. "Donna Sumeria" has a bit of "I Feel Love" deep within, and such odd bits make the album attention-getting in an intellectual, rather witty way without being too smug or recondite. The last song, "Nancy Reagan's Head," avoids being a novelty tune thanks to the extended instrumental that follows the lyrics you'd expect.

So, it thunders more than squeaks, although the Bob Mould-meets-Jello Biafra vocal resemblances on some tracks do make for unflattering (to MOB) comparisons with other college-radio vets. The strength of the band has always been it's one of the very very few from their era to have three singer-songwriters with identifiably distinctive styles (although Miller and Prescott do seem to overlap at least to me a bit!). This album has only one non-vocal track, appropriately titled "The Mute Speaks Out." Seemingly with no diminishment of their might, this power-trio stomps on, with both nimble intelligence and impressive dexterity.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Phenominal Rock Record 1 Jun. 2006
By Man Steam - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Album rips from start to finish. Less directionless tunes than Vs. Drums are always intense and interesting as in the opener "2wice." MOB is the Cream of art-punk, losing some of the textured shredery for a fresh live dynamic. MOB also tactfully rediscovers previously charted relevance in a neo-Regean American social landscape. Say "The Obliterati" whenever you find yourself in a discussion of old rock hacks reuniting ie Blondie and The New Cars.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As Good As Vs. 14 Aug. 2006
By Mike Rhakabit - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Generally speaking, I don't like to give the same band two 5 star reviews. It just goes against something about the whole rating system. I mean, a 5 star review should be great. Not really really good, but great. Nothing less. And in every band's case, their should be a best album. So that album, if worthy of it, should get the 5 stars, while the other album, which isn't as good due to some flaw, shouldn't. Even if it would, put out by another band. Well, Mission of Burma accomplished this 24 years ago with "Vs." So, 24 years later, what were the Stones, or Sr. Paul McCartney doing? Hell, even the great Lou Reed faltered after "Velvet Underground." So the idea that a great band could reform and do it again just seemed absurd, and no matter how good it was, could not move beyond 4 stars.

The only reason I put that little meaningless diatribe up there is so that you the reader can appreciate the thought I put into the rating. Yes, this album is 5 stars. It is every bit the equal of "Vs." but not more. The ethereal guitar noise is there. The lyrics are there. The tight rhythm section that pushes the boundaries of punk are all there. This is the exact same band that was in the studio recording "Vs." Not necessarily in personnel, but pretty close. But rather, they're the same in feel, in rebelliousness. The interesting thing about certain elements of punk in the 80's was that some of them were rebelling against the rebellion itself. Black Flag after "My War" were one of those bands. The Minutemen were one. And Mission of Burma proves that they still are rebelling against what could be described as punk, against society, and against musical conventions laid down by the greats like Robert Johnson or Chuck Berry.

This isn't rock and roll at it's finest. This isn't punk at it's finest. This isn't noise at it's finest. This is sound at it's finest.
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