Mission of Burma’s plan to do a slow leak to fans of the songs from their forthcoming The Obliterati — as one song a week for eight weeks, each song released on vinyl and CD — has been tripped up twice but those songs have finally been released as There’s a Time and Place to Punctuate.
First, the band was overwhelmed by demand and sold out of all 500 copies in two days.
Second, production problems derailed the original plans to leak one song a week. So Matador Records shipped a limited edition CD version this week with a vinyl version to follow. The CDs were waiting for me last night when I got home from the airport, so while I was stuck in traffic this morning I listened to them in the car.
The songs are tight as ever, maybe tighter; none of the eight clock in at more than five minutes, and only one breaks the four minute mark. The band continues to evolve their sound, too; while the wall of guitars, frantic tempos, earnest screaming vocals, and tape manipulation are all familiar from previous outings, they sound fresh here, thanks in part to some strong melodic writing from Clint Conley and rhythmic and melodic experimentation from Roger Miller and Peter Prescott. The strongest track of the lot, Miller’s “Careening with Conviction,” rocks out like rocking out was just invented yesterday, and Conley’s set-closing “Nancy Reagan’s Head” pulses with dark wit and angular guitar work. The packaging (by Shepard Fairey, of the Andre the Giant Obey posters) adds appropriate notes of abstract mystery.
On top of all this, Mission of Burma have put up an official site for the forthcoming album (due next month) that features a front-and-center wiki for fans to post their own information about the band and the recording. It also features an on-by-default music player which will selectively release all eight songs from the set over the next few weeks, so you can get the full experience even if you didn’t get in on the limited edition.