Simply stated, Mission Of Burma were, and remain, one of the most important American rock bands of the last 20 years. Strong words, but over the course of their brief four-year career (1979-1983), the band delivered the goods in spades. Rykodisc's three-CD re-release campaign of band's entire Ace of Hearts Records catalog includes the 1981 'Signals, calls, and marches' EP (with the 'Academy Fight Song' b/w 'Max Ernst' 7" single appended), the groundbreaking 1982 'VS.' LP (with four bonus tracks not available on the original album), and the posthumous 1985 live LP THE HORRIBLE TRUTH ABOUT BURMA, which documents the band's final tour (with four previously unreleased bonus tracks).
Playing a bracing mix of punk, pop, art rock, and avant-garde experimentation, the Boston quartet's vocal/guitar/bass/drums/tape manipulation line-up was relentlessly intense and dynamic. As adept at playing strident, angular blasts as they were at powerful, pretty instrumentals, Mission Of Burma were integral in laying the foundation for a movement in postpunk rock which remains vital today. Formed in February 1979, when guitarist/vocalist Roger Miller and bassist/vocalist Clint Conley, fresh from the break-up of the band Moving Parts, decided to join forces with drummer/vocalist Peter Prescott, who had just parted company with The Molls. M.O.B. worked as a trio until the summer of 1979, when they drafted Martin Swope to provide what was commonly seen as the "x- factor" in their sound. Swope, who had worked with Miller in bands around their hometown of Ann Arbor, MI, added tape loops and sonic manipulations (from a visually unobtrusive position behind the soundboard) that often left audiences wondering how the trio on stage were creating the sounds that they were hearing.