The first and only full-length album released before Mission Of Burma disbanded, VS. is one of the high points in American rock. Marrying straight-ahead punk, art-house experimentation, and intelligent songwriting, Mission Of Burma was one of the most important and influential of all punk rock bands, and this record displays it at its apex.
Among the best of this inspired collection of songs are "Secrets," the kinetic album opener that highlights Clint Conley's elastic bass playing and the virtuoso touches of Martin Swope's tape manipulations, and the deliberately paced "Weatherbox." The latter features perhaps the best example in the band's catalogue of Roger Miller's patented spiky guitar and Swope's bizarre looping effects. There's also the relatively straight-forward "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate," and the jagged slashing chords of "Forget," one of four bonus tracks added to the Ryko re-issue. Another of these bonus tracks, "Progress," is an essential Burma piece, complete with breathless vocals, Peter Prescott's formidable drumming, and Miller's ringing guitar. If you own only one Mission Of Burma record, it ought to be this one.
ReviewsRanked #34 in Spin's "50 Most Essential Punk Records" - "...As complicated as they were brutal, Boston's revered trio pile the guitars up to the clouds." - Spin