Returning from the ether with the same kind of tremolo sparks and guitar distortion that made them a name 20 years ago, Mission of Burma reunited in 2002 for some gigs and took to it so much they released a new album, ONoffON, earlier this year. In so many rock reunions, the music suffers at the hands of time; vocal chords don’t have their same elasticity, the instruments hang heavy in older muscles and the general circumstances are borne more of ceremony than celebration. As MOB set themselves apart by pushing musical boundaries from their home base in Boston, weaving through melody in tight, jagged bursts, they remain just as enigmatic and utterly original today. Bassist-singer Clint Conley, guitarist-singer Roger Miller and drummer Peter Prescott are all accounted for, with Bob Weston working the tapes once the domain of Martin Swope.
They’ve got some shit to get off their chests, too. Their show at the after-party at this year’s Democratic National Convention was no fluke, placing them on a list of appearances that ended with Al Sharpton, Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton and husband Bill. The yield of a recent Ebay auction of the band’s early treasures was a fundraiser for the MoveOn organization. Mission of Burma may have come out of the woodwork for their own pleasure, or maybe they had more noble ideas in mind. What is certain is their legacy as one of the underground’s most important groups, with incalculable influence on the post-whatever rock of today. Believe it.
Mission of Burma plays Cat’s Cradle Saturday, Oct. 16. The show starts at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are $14.