FOR EVERY HALF-ASS, part-nostalgia, part-money-grabbing reunion tour that has been thrown at us in the last decade, there is Mission of Burma. For every "band" that has sucked in their guts, Botoxed-out the wrinkles, spent a week figuring out how to finger the old chords, and then reluctantly hit the road to be able to pay rent for the next year, there is Mission of Burma.
From 1980 to 1983, Burma went for the jugular. And since the band reunited in 2002, they've continued to do the same. "We're just going to keep doing this until we don't want to," says Burma drummer/vocalist Pete Prescott. "We're always amazed at what happens when we get in a room together and play. We actually had no intention of making another record. But songs started coming out, and we thought, 'Why not?'"
Jagged, abrasive, confrontational, yet melodic as all hell, Burma's newest LP, The Obliterati, is a record that bands half their age couldn't even conceive of. "I think what's missing from so many of the younger bands today is that everything they do comes off as contrived," says Prescott. "It's like they know the routine, how to act, what to do, and they just follow the line. We're on, what, the third version of new wave now?"
Burma pulled a coup this time around, picking up genius knob-twiddler Bob Weston (as responsible for the '90s Chicago/indie sound as Steve Albini), and you can hear it on the tape. The Obliterati almost sounds like it was recorded on a four-track—but in that really cool, I-want-to-dance-but-I-think-my-head-is-gonna-explode way. "Bob's been great," says Prescott. "He fit right in and has added so much to our sound. We feel like this record is actually our first 'new' record. The last one was just us figuring out how to play together again. This one is us creating."