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  The Brightest Light  

The Mission UK


The End Records

Release Date:


Reviewed by:
  Inspector Jason  

The Mission, or The Mission UK as they are generally known here in the United States, came together in 1986 when frontman Wayne Hussey and bassist Craig Adams, both former members of The Sisters of Mercy, joined with guitarist Simon Hinkler and drummer Mick Brown. Like The Cure, The Mission has undergone multiple lineup changes over the years, with Hussey being the only constant. The Brightest Light brings three of the original members, Hussey, Adams, and Hinkler, back together, for a reunion album of sorts that, judging from the word around the campfire on a few of the 1980s New Wave/Alternative fan sites that I frequent on Facebook, is eagerly anticipated by loyal fans.

The Mission fell under my own radar at some point during my high school years in the late 1980s, when I heard a few of the prominent singles, such as Wasteland and Deliverance, on a local college radio station and, funnily enough, on Miami Vice, which introduced me to a great many other bands whom I now love. Although I was intrigued by The Mission's brand of bluesy “trucker goth” that came across like a more rugged incarnation of The Southern Death Cult, Gene Loves Jezebel, or The Damned, I never did actually get around to purchasing any of the band's albums. I keep meaning to grab a copy of the band's impressive debut, God's Own Medicine, or their generally-acknowledged career highlight, Carved in Sand, but I never quite seem to want to slap down my debit card and pull the trigger when I encounter copies of these CDs.

Since my familiarity with The Mission's back catalogue is spotty at best, I have to review The Brightest Light on its own terms. It took a couple of attempts for me to warm up to this album. During my first listen, I dismissed the album as a noisy affair that made me think of the many abysmal bands that have tried to follow in the footsteps of Motorhead or Metallica, mostly due to Wayne Hussey's aging biker rasp of a voice and the generic wall of distorted rock on the album's first track, Black Cat Bone.

After subsequent listens, however, I am pleased to report that The Brightest Light is pretty decent. The first track is still my least favorite, but the second song, Everything But the Squeal, with its guitar edge that plows forward like one of the recent efforts from The Cult, is an improvement. The best moments on The Brightest Light can be found where the band is not trying to rock out, and I am surprised to find that I like the slower blues-twang tracks that sound more befitting of the band's aesthetic at this point in their career. Born Under a Good Sign and Just Another Pawn in Your Game are my favorites, and they conjure memories of the late 1980s Flesh For Lulu material with their balance of harmonica jangle and outright rock.

The Mission are definitely not achieving any belated career high point now in 2013, but, like the recent works from late 1980s relics like The Cult or The Alarm, The Brightest Light gives us just enough of a taste from the memory well to keep the band in the fold.

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