The Zodiac, Oxford
8th September 2005
The Mission were formed by Wayne Hussey and the now-departed Craig Adams after leaving Sisters of Mercy in 1986; however, unlike the Sisters, they are still around, existing without impinging much on the public consciousness, though still much beloved by the sort who wear old Fields of the Nephilim tour t-shirts. As such, I’m expecting an 80s-style doom-laden dirge with impenetrable amounts of reverb and uninspired new material.
Today, however, new single Breathe Me In has today hit number one in the German alternative charts – not bad for a worldwide limited release of 3000. It appears that Wayne and co aren’t quite relics yet.
The driving rock of Beyond The Pale and Evangeline, with its Big Country tumbling drums, isn’t that interesting – even when the latter segues into Abba’s Gimme Gimme Gimme. The jangly guitar of Sea of Love resembles The Cult’s She Sells Sanctuary, and Hymn (for America) is almost heavy metal.
The Mission appreciate their support; after playing an old B-side, which singer/guitarist Wayne says only real fans will know, they launch into the more recognisable, commercial stuff, like Butterfly on a Wheel, heaped with reverb but stirring rather than melodramatic.
The Mission’s most successful – and most typical – tracks are the anthemic ones; Deliverance, Severina and Wasteland are impassioned, with rousing lyrics (“brother, sister, give me, give me deliverance…”), repetitive guitar riffs, driving basslines and more drums than cymbals. The second encore closes with the remixed version of Tower of Strength – their finest Temple of Love moment, complete with Ofra Haza-like wailing. The guitars layer over the dancey backing track and build to an epic crescendo… and then Wayne walks off and it’s all over.
The Mission are lot more accessible than the image or the legend has led me to expect. I can happily report that, here at least, all is well in Gothland.
From Nightshift, October 2005