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Vs Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £21.52
Only 1 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by FastMedia "Ships From USA".
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£21.52 Only 1 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by FastMedia "Ships From USA".

Amazon's Mission Of Burma Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 April 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B0000009Q5
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,540 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Secrets
  2. Train
  3. Trem Two
  4. New Nails
  5. Dead Pool
  6. Learn How
  7. Mica
  8. Weatherbox
  9. The Ballad Of Johnny Burma
  10. Einstein's Day
  11. Fun World
  12. That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate
  13. Bonus Track: Forget
  14. Bonus Track: OK/No Way
  15. Bonus Track: Laugh The World Away
  16. Bonus Track: Progress

Product Description


This is one of the greatest statements of the early days of American punk rock. Boston-based Mission of Burma created an intense, somewhat claustrophobic sound that was based neither on speed nor brevity. They bash and flail on their instruments, and the music is dense (including early tape manipulations), but the songs are intelligent and captivating. "Secrets" unfolds into directed chaos with an anthemic feel; "Trem Two" also has a great sense of dynamics. Several band members contribute songs, which also keeps the album engaging. Released in 1982 but still fresh. --Robert Gordon

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Mission of Burma's output (during their original life-span anyway...) amounts to two singles, a live album, and this, their only full length album. However, they can still lay claim to having profoundly influenced the development of American underground music. By applying an avant-garde approach to punk, they elevated the form above what was considered acceptable and opened up a world of possibilities to everyone who was listening.

Their early work (collected on the compilation, "Signals, Calls and Marches") is much more streamlined by comparison, almost 'pop' like in it's construction. Songs like "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" and "Academy Fight Song" have a sweeping, anthemic feel to them, coupling a powerful sense of melody with an abstract and angular experimentalism. But this does not prepare the listener for the onslaught of "Vs", noise, rhythm and melody, meeting each other head on and combining to make an earth-shattering SOUND!

Opening track 'Secrets' erupts at the listener, almost falling apart on itself under the weight of Martin Swope's tape experiments. On the previous releases, Swope was a ghostlike figure, adding the odd percussive touch, contributing to the visuals and making the occasional sonic manipulation. On "Vs" he is all over the place, freeing Mission of Burma from the pressures of being 'just a band' and allowing them to explore all sorts of uncharted territory. Roger Miller's guitar coveys an urgency that had seldom been heard in American underground music, slashing through the mix and adding texture to the melodic basslines of Clint Conley.

In essence the relationship between Clint Conley and Roger Miller defines the band, with Conley's melodic contributions jarring with Miller's angular texture to tremendous effect.
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Format: Audio CD
Burma's only full length studio LP is an absolute essential for fans of the early eighties post punk scene. Brim full with inventive guitar work and tape loops, Vs. charts a path from the inspiration of Pere Ubu to influence over bands like Yo La Tengo et al. The songs herein are delivered with vigour and an inquisitive touch, leaving the listener in expectation at what might happen next. Melodies are not hostage even on the most frantic of cuts. The bands you love, love this! A classic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x96870c30) out of 5 stars 29 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9689f690) out of 5 stars Best Album of the Eighties. Period. 12 April 2002
By Peter F. Stubbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While sounding like neither, this album captures the epic struggle between the band's two yin and yang main influences, Pere Ubu and the Stooges. Tearing through outright punk rockers like "That's how I escaped my certain Fate" with authority, they still manage to sculpt delicate beauties like "Trem Two" and "Einstein's Day". A thinking band that rocked, Burma was unmatched on these shores and equaled only by the best worldwide (Gang Of Four's "Entertainment"). And even their equals couldn't cover the breadth of material these guys seemingly effortlessly spun on a regular basis. This album dwarfed all that came before & altered all that would follow, leading the way for bands like Husker Du & The Minutemen to release masterworks of their own a year later. That Burma never recorded another album supplies post-punk with a tragedy on a scale (musically speaking) with Buddy Holly's death.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9689f6e4) out of 5 stars This is an essential for any music collection 3 July 2004
By Alex Fencl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mission of Burma is without a doubt one of the most exciting, intense, cerebral, inticing, and genius groups to ever live. This disc is proof of that. Songs like "Trem Two" and "Weatherbox" show off the groups' more avant-garde leanings, whereas gems like "Mica" and "That's How I Escaped my Certain Fate" are pure, unpretentious art punk. The range of musical diversity in this one album is absolutely mind-blowing. "Vs." was originally released in 1982 and it sounds as if it could have been recorded today. A truly remarkable feat in independent music by 1982's or 2004's standards. My advice: buy this album and study it. Listen to it many, many, many times for not only the songs, but the song structures, as they are the most exciting part of any Burma song. I truly believe that no one has been able to top Burma yet, and no one ever will be able to for that matter. And it is an absolute miracle that they reunited and are playing live once again. It almost makes me believe that there is a god if such a talented band could join forces again after a 22-year hiatus. So listen, learn, and rock out as hard as you possibly can because life is too short to listen to watered-down "punk rock" like Blink 182 or NOFX. If you want the real deal, the real gritty in-your-face intelligent kind of stuff, then you have come to the right place.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9689fb1c) out of 5 stars Punk rock doesn't get any better than this 8 Mar. 2001
By Frank Grimes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mission of Burma is probably the best kept secret in old school punk rock. Next to the Clash, they are probably my favorite punk band of all time. And Vs. is the undeniable masterpiece.
I call Mission of Burma a punk band, but if it was released today, it would problably just be labeled as indie rock. You are not going to mistake this album for the Dead Kennedys or even the Sex Pistols for that matter. But Vs. is often just as intense and visceral as any album by those punk bands. One of the biggest differences is the instrumentation. Most of their songs are mid tempo, and have dense layers of jangly guitar lines. Infact, some of their songs don't sound all too different from REM's instrumentation. However, what makes this album so gripping is it's ability to invoke feelings of nervousness, paranoia, and great urgency. I think the only band that I can compare Mission of Burma to is Gang of Four. There are 16 tracks on this album, and every song is performed with incredible conviction. My personal faves are "Secrets", "New Nails", "Weatherbox" and "Fun World".
Long story short, if you like indie rock or punk rock, it doesn't get much better than Vs. Also, I strongly recommend checking out the Signals Calls, and Marches EP. (It contains the fantastic "academy fight song" as well as "That's when I reach for my revolver.")
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9689fee8) out of 5 stars And I wanna break it like glass!....glass!....glass! 13 Aug. 2003
By J. Sneaker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Brainiac rock disguised as blind rage." That's how I would describe this album. MOB attack your eardrums with unabashed fury, yet the songwriting is layered & interesting enough that it never gets boring, or unpleasantly cacophonous. Not to say that this music isn't loud, hard & noisy....just that it rocks in such a completely unique way that's so challenging yet so rewarding at the same time that I, personally can't get enough of this recording. I've never heard anything that sounds quite like this album, and I doubt I ever will. But perhaps that doesn't tell you enough. Shall I describe a few songs for you?
The Wire-like opener "Secrets" drones on the same two speedy chords for about a minute & a half before a sloppy tape-looped "drum solo" comes in, after which all 3 vocalists/instrumentalists in the band take turns screaming, as the song officially starts. Midtempo "Trem Two" is even dronier, with the robotic descending guitar line sounding more like a distorted synth and a high-pitched noise looping on every 2nd & 4th beat. Probably the closest thing this band's ever done to a "dance" number. "Dead Pool" is deathly slow & numbing; Not depressing, mind you, just terribly bleak. Clint Conley's vocals in particular sound like a mortally wounded soul wishing itself out of exsistence. "Weatherbox" features a mesmerizing guitar noise/tape loop solo & one of Clint's best ever basslines. "Einstein's Day" is a sweeping epic recalling the instrumental "All World Cowboy Romance" from their first ep; but with an even greater sense of desperate urgency. And "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate" ends the album(and effectively, the band's recording career) with a crash, boom, bang, go! Undoubtably the catchiest song of them all.
As great as the album tracks are though, the 4 outtakes pasted on as "bonus tracks" at the end are actually some of the best they ever did. "Forget" is an upbeat, happy(??!?!) number with a beautiful melody & haunting lyrics, predating all of today's "emo/nu-pop-punk" crap by at least a couple of decades. "OK/No Way" manages to fit a confusing time signature into a song that smashes & flails chaotically. "Laugh The World Away" is just plain weird, unlike anything else they'd ever done, yet fitting right in there somehow. And "Progress" is one of Clint's most poignant, heartbreaking laments about the uselessness of modern society.
It didn't get any better than this...not in 1982(the year I was born), anyway. Check out everything this band's ever done and also Clint's new band Consonant, too. For it is the best way I can think of to escape from the vacuous vapidity of today's shallow, target-demographic radio pop.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9689ffcc) out of 5 stars Mission of Burma Lives! 6 July 2001
By Gavin B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I saw Mission of Burma more than any other live band in the early eighties. MOB never got their due. I remember them playing in a club, which was previously a cellar in a laundromat in Allston MA. MOB played all the punk rock dives in Boston like the Rat in Kenmore Sq. and Cantones in the downtown district. One of the best shows MOB ever did was in the In Men Square bar which was a narrow shot-gun bar where patrons would frequently crowd the floor level stage in order get a breath of oxygen. MOB paid it's dues.
There was a chemistry in the band which was electrifying to the folks that knew MOB. Outsiders said that MOB sounded like a bunch of yelling and screaming, but insiders knew. Roger Miller's guitar style was a union of Hendrix psychedlica and no/new wave guitarists like Andy Gill (Gang of Four) and Arto Lindsay (Contortions). Clint Conley's frenetic bass lines underpinned the mad shreiking feedback of Roger's guitar. Peter Prescott's powerful drumming was the focal point that punctuated the call and response style of vocals. The final touch was Martin Swope at the controls adding tape loops and "found" sounds.
This studio album is a typical set that MOB would play live in 1980-81. None of the band's live power is diminished on this studio set. It appears that the band went into the studio and did a live take of all of their concert songs. At the time, "Vs." was released, MOB appeared to be on the thereshold of a national breakthrough. Major labels were looking at the band and, REM was talking about recording a version of MOB's "Academy Fight Song". This all fell apart when Roger Miller fell a victim of tinnitus, an ear condition that many musician fall prey to. Tinnitus comes about from exposure to loud noise for a long period of time. Miller's ears constantly rang from the volume level that MOB had played at for so many years. The band broke up after a monster concert at the Statler Hotel ballroom in Boston, in 1982. Miller had to play that concert with a pair of rifle range headphones on his ears to alleviate the ringing in his ears. Miller continues to play keyboards and has released a number of minimalist CDs with avant garde stylings. Clint Connley has given up music. Peter Prescott is still drumming and involved with production work on music. Martin Swope is somewhere in Hawaii doing things unknown to me. MOB, of course, will live on....
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