Tuesday 17 December 2013


Picture courtesy of Imago Mortis Photography

Not so long ago they were but another lost giant of Goth, on hiatus, split, and gone for good (and not for the first time); and now they are back, with a new album and a string of UK dates (and not for the first time). However, this time there is a new sense of purpose, and more vim & vigour. They appear to mean business. So, hands up – who put something in The Mission's tea?

Of course, ever since their wonderfully fractious beginnings "The Mish" have ploughed the most lackadaisical of furrows. After splitting from the Sisters of Mercy and attempting to take the name with them – leading to the longest-running, most expensive and most entertaining legal battle-cum-flame war in the history of Goth – they set up their own shop with some of the basic ingredients but made it something much more homely and welcoming.

Some bands drink, but "The Mish" got pissed – staggering around pissed, falling asleep pissed, vomiting-into-a-strategically-placed-bucket-on-stage pissed. Their drug use was even more prodigious than their boozing, and by late '87 they even had one bona fide drug-fuelled burnout in LA to their name. Take that, Cud!

And then there were the gigs – big, friendly, family affairs with a sense of reckless abandon and community. The Mission may have been rock stars but nobody could have called them aloof, with the road crew and fan club all forming part of their hedonistic crusade. From clubs to universities to arenas the Mission bandwagon rolled on in a boozy and brazen blur.

Aside from all that they found time to make some music, too. Never the darlings of the critics they nonetheless had many genuine hits; blustery, swooping, strident, rocking and occasionally swooning guitar rock by a bunch of blokes who had all obviously listened to Led Zep 4 too many times. It was heady stuff for the bleak days of the late 80s, and lyrically they were florid, descriptive, full of emotion (and the odd dragon) and entirely bereft of substance. It didn't matter. We loved them for it.

In their prime we would have followed them to the ends of the earth, but due to the huge demographic and cultural shifts of the 1990s (*cough*) the dream faded. They returned many times since – many, many times since – and even when only recently three of the original Flab Four reformed Wayne could not resist an extravagant April Fool's joke at the expense of the fans by stating that they were recording an album called 'Jokerman' with Budgie on drums. It appeared that although we may have the gigs and the memories new material was still a long way away.

And then – a new album. And a video (now two videos). And a tour. And interviews, multi-media ad campaigns, and media coverage. 'The Brightest Light' is a tougher, leaner beast than previous offerings and represents actual musical development. The Mission are growing again, and Wayne is giving it more than a little gusto on the promotional front too. It almost feels like 1988. Where will it end? Who knows. How long will it last? Debatable. However, this is already far more than any right minded Eskimo (if there is such a thing) had any right to expect.

So get off your cushioned backsides and see them on tour this December – not just for the feel of thrills long gone, but for a band who are actually, finally, against all the odds, giving it a go again. And if Wayne, Craig and Slink can do it, then any one of us can!

Merry Christmas readers, and see you all in a groovy 2014.

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