The Obliterati


Order and chaos engage in a thrilling tug-of-war on the latest mind-scrambling work from the reunited quartet. Arguably the best band to emerge from Boston during the ’70s punk revolution, MoB was never simply a genre act. Then (as now) it reveled in tumult—stretching, bending, and battering sturdy pop songs to create swirling, oddly catchy storms of noise. Remarkably, The Obliterati is even fiercer than ONoffON, Burma’s dazzling 2004 comeback. While the sputtering guitars, verbal outbursts, and martial beats could be mistaken for textbook rock and roll aggression, they actually signify furious introspection: “Man in Decline” and “Good, Not Great” express a desperate desire for human contact, just as the question “Is this where I’m supposed to cry?” reflects a craving for authentic sensation, not hip cynicism. Between the aptly titled “Careening With Conviction” and the absurd “Nancy Reagan’s Head,” prepare to be all shook up, in a good way.

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  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.