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.
Entertainment Weekly (8/01/97, p.75) - "...While some of the sharply geometric riffs and chanted vocals sound dated, the power [on these tracks]...makes almost every album released today sound tame by comparison." - Rating: A+
Q (May 2002, p.132) - 4 out of 5 stars - "...The band's broken anthems and soundman Martin Swope's abrasive electronic conjurings were...groundbreaking..."
Mojo (Publisher) (6/02, p.122) - "...Consistently excellent, from the raw beginnings to the mannered middle, to the documentary robusto..."
A3 Trem Two
A4 New Nails
A5 Dead Pool
A6 Learn How
B3 The Ballad Of Johnny Burma
B4 Einstein's Day
B5 Fun World
B6 That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate