The Mission - The Brightest Light
The Brightest Light
The End Records
The Mission, also known as The Mission UK, were formed when frontman Wayne Hussey and bassist Craig Adams left cult favorites The Sisters of Mercy. Since then the band have arguably surpassed the iconic status of their former band releasing album after album of critically acclaimed goodness and selling over four million albums worldwide. Like many of the eighties finest though, they never had that massive hit that would have cemented them as one of the top stars of the era. The band haven’t released an album of new material since 2007, so The Brightest Light is more than welcome. It comes on the heels of 2011’s 25th anniversary tour and the new album features three of the four original members (Hussy, Adams, and Hinkler).
Since Children is my “go to” album when hankering for The Mission UK, The Brightest Light rattled my cage a bit right from the get go with the nearly nine minute garage rocker, “Black Cat Bone.” It sort of slinks into the thick of it with a bluesy swagger that , for me, feels pretty fresh. That said, I find it an awkward way to begin the album and certainly doesn’t represent what’s to come all that well. And I’m guessing that’s the point.
When the band settle in on The Brightest Light it becomes quickly evident as to why they wanted to make this album. They are simply at their best musically and their most reflective lyrically. “Sometimes The Brightest Light Comes From the Darkest Place” is quite possibly the best song the band have ever recorded, driving with all the reserve of their classic works but capturing a much more passionate feel that bring the lyrics to life in a way most bands simply can’t do. The more driving “Born Under a Good Sign” has a classic rock overtone to it that makes me wonder what The Heartbreakers may have sounded like if they hadn’t been obsessed with the sound of the American Midwest.
The others side of this album are slightly folksy, intimate cuts like “Ain’t No Prayer in the Bible Can Save Us Now” and the introspective “Litany For the Faithful.” The latter ends the album almost as oddly as it began but I found myself thinking that if this is the last new song I ever hear from The Mission then I’d die a happy man. There is something odd about the way this band handles acoustic based songs, you can hear their love of Syd Barrett and Tom Waits but it has an almost dark Western feel to it that create a fabulous atmosphere more akin to a soundtrack than a single.
Overall, it took me a couple of listens to really let this sink in but now that it has I simply can’t stop playing it. There is something new, something old, something borrowed, and, well, you know the rest. The Mission really knock it out of the park on The Brightest Light providing fans with one of 2013’s best albums! Don’t let this one pass you by.
Reviewed by Mark Fisher