The Mission – Another Fall From Grace Review

the-mission_another-fall-from-grace_front_cover_onlyIt was a brave step by Wayne Hussey to set out to make an album that sounds like 1985, yet it is one that by and large he manages to pull off. ‘Another Fall From Grace’ plays like an echo, an echo of former glories when The Mission were riding on the cusp of a wave towards being the UK’s biggest alternative rock band, or an echo of days gone by, when making epically dramatic tunes was de rigueur in the realm of Goth.

Tentative drum beats signal the opening of title track, ‘Another Fall From Grace’, but it soon takes shape around a rumbling bass line as layers of jangly 12 string guitars weave a tapestry of wonderfully bombastic Goth drama reminiscent of Tower of Strength’. Hussey sounds a little older and wiser, but there’s still a powerful richness to his voice and this deeply layered epic is surely one of the finest tunes this band has ever produced.

They seem to have rediscovered their signature sound and on ‘Met-Amor-Phosis’, featuring Ville Valo, it effortlessly translates into the type of song that would’ve bothered the top twenty back in the day. ‘Blood On The Road’ is in a similar vein, but despite being rockier, it is actually a little lacklustre and doesn’t quite nail it.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of moments when they do totally nail it, whether it’s the brooding drama of the atmospheric ‘Within The Deepest Darkness (Fearful)’, featuring excellent vocal contributions from Martin Gore and Gary Numan, or the instantly likeable ‘Can’t See The Ocean For The Rain’; a quality, largely acoustic number with a wistful air.

However, it’s on ‘Tyranny of Secrets’ that they are firing on all cylinders; there’s a distinct Sisters of Mercy feel to the driving electronica of the opening, but it’s got everything else that we know and love about the Mission besides a surprising element of vitriol to the vocal; great tune.

In fact, this opens a section of the album that is pure class, as the wonderfully overblown ‘Never’s Longer Than Forever’ and the intricate intensity of ‘Bullets and Bayonets’ follow stylishly before the spoken word reflections of ‘Valaam’. This segues neatly into my favourite moment of the album, the emotionally charged ‘Jade’ with its signature guitar lines and a haunting piano melody typically reflective of glories past. The song meanders along in darkly atmospheric fashion until Simon Hinkler finally lets rip with a soaring solo, before an emotional finale where Wayne gives it both barrels. This is the Mission at their finest, talk about recapturing whatever it was that once made them great.

Despite being firmly rooted in the past, it is interesting that on closing track ‘Phantom Pain’, another dark 7 minutes, there are some skittering saxophone touches to add a little extra depth. It is a cool touch and offers a hint that this creative well is far from running dry.

All in all, ‘Another Fall From Grace’ is a deeply satisfying record full of great touches, including a number of subtle backing vocals from long term collaborator Julianne Regan; long time Mission fans will surely be overjoyed that they have managed to recapture the essence of what it was that we fell in love with all those years ago, whilst also looking forwards. Sure, at 12 tracks and over an hour long there’s probably one too many pedestrian paced sweeping epics making it a little OTT, but I’m sure Wayne wouldn’t have it any other way, especially when it is such a strong album both musically and vocally.


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