Wayne Hussey’s reconstituted The Mission (finally dropping the “U.K.” from their stateside moniker) have decided to celebrate 30 years as a band by releasing an album – “Another Fall From Grace” – that finds them reconnecting with their past. Produced by Tim Palmer, the man behind the boards for the band’s classic debut “God’s Own Medicine” and commercial breakthrough “Carved In Sand”, the album sits somewhere between return to form and retread. Hussey has publicly stated that the album should sound like it was released in 1985 (a bridge of sorts from the Sisters of Mercy’s “First, And Last, And Always” – in which Hussey played a pivotal role – and the Mission’s own debut), and sonically Palmer does a fantastic job of creating a lush, gothic backdrop. The drums boom, the bass is prominently throbbing and Hussey’s 12-string guitar (somewhat diminished on recent albums) chimes throughout. It all SOUNDS like a Mission record, but there is an immediacy to the songs that is lacking.
2013’s superb “The Brightest Light” showed Hussey moving past some of the trappings of the “classic” Mission sound and sounding somehow older but also more feral. His voice - always a beautiful, pleading instrument - sounded like it was about to fall apart, reaching for notes that were always just out of reach. He sounded desperate, rather than dramatic. Here, the whole thing feels dialed back and a bit safe. That’s not to say it’s a failure – “Tyranny of Secrets” is a driving winner and few do epic melodrama as beautifully as the band do on album closer “Phantom Pain”. I just wish that the drama sounded more grounded and vital. As a Mission statement for a band that’s survived for 30 years, however, it’s certainly more than good enough.