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Burning Airlines: Mission: Control!

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Album: Mission: Control!
Label: DeSoto

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Between 1989 and '97, the terrific D.C.-area band Jawbox released four albums and countless singles built around melody and discord, muscle and brain, hummability and abrasion. With its tightly wound guitars, precise rhythms, and smarter-than-usual sloganeering, Jawbox was one of the most intense, powerful, and pure bands to be swept up and spit out during the mid-'90s major-label modern-rock sweepstakes. The group broke up a while back, but its sound certainly isn't dead: For proof, listen to Burning Airlines, the new band featuring Jawbox's singer/guitarist (J Robbins) and bassist (Bill Barbot). Its first full-length album, Mission: Control!, has all the hallmarks of a Jawbox record, right down to the over-the-top choruses, chattering guitars, barely contained tension, wordy verses, and distinct song titles ("Scissoring," "Sweet Deals On Surgery"). It's more or less Jawbox redux, which is hardly a bad thing. Mission: Control! lacks the immediacy and runaway hooks of Jawbox's best records—though the slow-burning, oddly haunting "3 Sisters" benefits from Burning Airlines' slightly subtler style—but it's a worthy replacement.