The "zeroth" Mission album collected some bits and bobs recorded prior to their official debut "God's Own Medicine". Dark, dusty and raw, it captures the excitement surrounding the rapid ascent of the most straight-ahead of goth-rock bands. Starting the collection with a cover suggests lack of songwriting confidence, but what a powerful song to cover. With a spangly intro and punchy performance, their rendition of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" stands above the rest of the tracks here.
Wayne Hussey's voice was on the muffled and groany side here, it would grow in confidence on later proper Mission albums. Simon Hinkler's riffs are the signature of 80s goth-rock. I'm not sure how much he was responsible for that sound, but similar sneering pings seemed to be emitted by many of their comtemporaries. Their rhythm section also had that echoey, synthetic sound that goth bands tended to lean on.
They would also channel Neil Young on drawn-out rockers like "The Crystal Ocean", but we get a few tastes of what they would come to do best - traditional riff-and-chorus goth-rock. The early single "Serpent's Kiss" could have slotted into the hook-heavy numbers on "God's Own Medicine". The raucously effected production on "Dancing Barefoot" doesn't date well, but the creepy sinister-pixies rhythms on "Wake" is more interesting, like something from Siouxsie's "Peepshow"
Only a warm-up, but still worth it if you like the basic Mission sound.
April 17, 2005