Tinnitus: usually attributed to a phenomenon of the nervous system that falsely relays information of a constant sound in the ears where there is no subsequent external sound. This is what Roger Miller suffers from and what eventually led to the band’s early demise in 1983. By listening to early Mission of Burma albums, it’s easy to guess how Miller’s ear problems began.
And so with this new era of Mission of Burma, Miller is forced to wear protective headgear that allows him to hear himself playing at an adequate level – but this does not by any means imply that the sharpness, edginess, and pure aggressive attitude have become a thing of the past. Mission of Burma is as abrasive as it’s ever been.
What makes this album so effective is the tightness in each song’s construction. The songwriting is better. Each song lends its own voice to an overall aural construction that is more cohesive than any of its predecessors. Most importantly, this is obviously a Mission of Burma record. The melodies flow effortlessly and organically within each other while maintaining the integrity of the band’s historic sound. While too many bands loose their original inspiration as they mature, Mission of Burma embrace what they have been and retool it to its fullest potential.
The focus here, like the disclaimer on the sleeve which reads “Burma encourage shuffle play,” is the continuity of the sound. Playing this album from beginning to end is easily done. Ejecting it is another matter. And from the levels I’m listening to it at, it will be a miracle if I avoid tinnitus.