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During the late 1980s and very early 1990s The Mission were one of the top rock acts, often derided by critics but with a style and panache of their own- perhaps the critics failed to warm to them as much as they could have done exactly because of that style- the Mission became almost as famous for their off-stage antics as their on-stage shows.
Then, somehow, they lost the plot completely (it didn't help that lead singer and main man Wayne Hussey kept losing band members) and brought out turgid pub-rock toss in the form of the Neverland (1995) and Blue (1996) albums.
So they did what many bands do when they've lost the plot, which is disappear completely for a while- regroup and have a ponder about the direction in which they are heading.
Consequently, except for a greatest hits compilation and some other re-releases, very little was heard from the Mission camp until 2001, when, in combination with an ultimately triumphant tour, The Mission returned with this album- Aura. They had been gigging and touring extensively through 1999 and onwards, so there had been a glimpse of a few of the tracks, but even the most optimistic Mission fan would secretly have been breathing a sigh of relief that when "Aura" finally manifested itself, it was a gem and not another album of neither-here-nor-there middle-of-the-road rock.
Aura is, quite simply, The Mission back to their best. Dispensing with the indie-rock no-mans-land territory that their last three albums (including 1992's "Masque") had fitted into, this album is a return to the bombastic emotional rock (that's not "emo" by the way) of their heyday. Okay, so there aren't any tracks quite on a par with classics such as "Tower of Strength" or "Beyond the Pale" from the "Children" album, or indeed anything of its predecessor, the "First Chapter" album- but this is still a stunning comeback considering the dross that they had been coming out with for the previous ten years or so.
The tracks are:
2. Shine Like the Stars
3. (Slave to) Lust
5. Lay Your Hands on Me
8. To Die by Your Hand
9. Trophy / It Never Rains...
10. The Light That Pours From You
13. In Denial
...and there is an untitled track hidden at the end of the album.
There's no denying that some of the lyrics are, as ever, either completely overblown or just a bit naff ("(Slave to) Love" is one such track) but anyone who concentrates purely on that small fact is really missing the point of the Mission. Whether they're overly emotional or not isn't the point and never really has been- the point is that they entertain, they rock, and on this album they have managed to produce some songs which are more than reminiscent of their heyday.
Each song is either guitar-driven rock or semi-acoustic, winsome balladry, and whilst none of them are startlingly original (some do sound a lot like other songs off old albums) each one has a comfortable feel to it- instantly recognisable as, if not classic Mission, then something that's much closer than you might have expected from them at this stage in their career.
I saw them play most of the songs off this album live at London's Kentish Town Forum some time ago now, where they headlined the evening and produced an electrifying show. If there's one thing better than a Mission album it's hearing and seeing them live- a band with style, attitude and a decent sense of humour. The songs off Aura were, as I suspected they would be, even better played live- which is usually the case with this band.
They brought out another album after this, "God is a Bullet", which is a fair bit more experimental (in so far as they experiment at all) so the Mission are still going- and going fairly strong.
If you've not heard much or anything by this band, I would still recommend that you firstly listen to the "Children" and "First Chapter" albums from their early days. But if you like those, then you may well like "Aura" as well.
Thanks for reading!
This has most definately got to be one of the greatest albums i've ever listened to. The songs are absoloutly amazing and it is essential that every great music lover should have this in his/her collection. 'Aura' brings you some of the best sounds from an awesome band. This is truly an amazing lp. I have read the other review and that writer also realises the true greatness of 'The Mission'. If you've never heard of them then you're living in the dark ages, if you have then you should understand what i am saying.
Anyone who owns any of the Mission back catalogue will adore Aura - If you've never heard of the Mission or don't have any of their records then this is a purchase you will not dissapoint you. These (so-called) Goth Rockers have been around since the mid-80's. Their musical history has been colourful and varied, just like their music; AurA is not goth. AurA is an aural pleasure, whether you want to rock out, dance, cry, sing, chill, it's all here. Hussey and co provides one of the most consistent albums to date. The production quality is astounding; Dave Allen (Depeche Mode, Cure, Sisters of Mercy) and Steve Power (Robbie Williams, Kylie, Blur) make each song come alive, drawing you in until you're transfixed. Critics from around the world agree, including these choice comments: "For all of you who have never heard (The Mission) before, they sound something like a mix of The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy and old U2. Crying, making love and living out your life are things you should do to this music." "Wayne Hussey and cohorts sound positively resurgent as they deliver a string of passionate, dense goth rock anthems that possess a punch that many would have thought beyond them. From the bludgeoning riffs and modern rhythms of 'Trophy/It Never Rains' and 'The Light That Pours From You' .... the pace is varied but the energy and creativity remains undiminished throughout." Track review: Evangeline (single) : This is classic Mish brought up to date for the 00's. It's a driving track that echoes back to the early days (way back to when some members of the band were in the Sisters). Shine Like the Stars : The second single from the album - steady beat, crescendos, screaming guitars. Great. (Slave to) Lust : Wow! Blows your ears off. Typical Hussey lyrics, eastern sounds, wailing guitars, a must for live shows. Mesmerised : Dreamy gu
itars - great lyrics Lay your hands on me : Deliverance 2001 - I love the guitars on this - sing this with all your missionary friends Dragonfly - Yes, essence butterfly on a wheel, but my god, I've never stopped playing this track since I got the album. Happy - Pure pop - not one for the die-hard mish fan, but gotta be a summer single! To Die by Your Hand - Stacatto guitars. Short and sweet Trophy/It never rains - A two part song, the first rocking out and the second a slow thumping track. THe Light that pours from you : OH. MY. GOD. This is THE track of the moment. It has EVERYTHING right about it. Screaming guitar solos, funky backing... wonderful. Burlesque : Kind of a Depeche Mode esque synth track. At first hearing it sounds OK, but as the track progresses it becomes a real stormer Cocoon : Dreamy, trippy, warm. Great to fall asleep to (in a good way) In Denial : How can I describe this track? It's message is desperate to be heard and the music is majestic yet tragic (not that the music is tragic, but the imagery) Hidden track : I've been reliably informed that this was recorded straight off just after Hussey split from his previous wife - you can hear the hurt and feeling in his voice.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Shine Like the Stars
3 (Slave To) Lust
5 Lay Your Hands on Me
8 To Die by Your Hand
9 Trophy/It Never Rains...
10 Light That Pours from You
13 In Denial