• Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: May 4, 2004

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Spin
    Even more dense and brutal than Burma's early records. [Jun 2004, p.103]
  2. Picks up, astonishingly, exactly where the band left off, not exactly retracing old paths but branching off of them into new and exciting vistas.
  3. OnOffOn is the aural resurrection of a band that still matters.
  4. Shockingly, "ONoffON" is almost on par with that landmark ['Vs.'], clearly the product of the same band operating at top form.
  5. What’s surprising about ONoffON is how different it sounds from those previous two records, and yet how well it follows their lead.
  6. Make no mistake: it may be a good two decades late, but ONoffON is the follow-up that Vs. has always cried out for. And as a result, it’s one of the finest records I’ve heard all year.
  7. The Wire
    The album glows white-hot with fury and energy, familiar yet fresh. [#243, p.66]
  8. Though Onoffon doesn't quite top Burma's 1982 masterpiece Vs., it manages to sound like the more-than-worthy follow-up they could have cut a couple years later ... only with two decades of experience and musical detours informing its nooks and crannies.
  9. Sonic Youth sound like their cover band in comparison.
  10. Abstract, yet brutally honest, Burma shame the transparent, insecure and phony, reminding us that ideals can be standards.
  11. Filter
    By staying so true to Burma's superior style 20 years after it was emulated, it lacks the aura of innovation. [#10, p.90]
  12. The album doesn't break any new ground for the band, but finds Burma at the top of its game, mixing artful music, intelligent lyrics and controlled sonic mayhem.
  13. Unlike the clean, jagged, self-contained post-punk being revived in New York, Mission Of Burma's art-damaged music rattles and collapses, leaving amazing debris.
  14. This is the real deal, played by men who haven't lost their edge after a two-decade absence.
  15. MoB trounce obsolescence because their typical peak moment is a flash of hard truth about a situation, a bolt of clarity about action to be taken.
  16. Alternative Press
    MOB have managed to preserve their legacy without tarnishing their origins. [Jun 2004, p.92]
  17. Mojo
    A remarkable comeback. [Jun 2004, p.106]
  18. These are the songs of men who haven't changed their political opinions or been influenced by a new album since they disbanded. That sentiment makes OnoffON feel like a lost relic in spots rather than a dynamic new album by an underground legend.
  19. Tense, febrile and messy, but tuneful and cohesive at the same time. [2 May 2004]
  20. The songs here sound as if the tension built up over such a long spell of lying dormant has been released to thrilling effect.
  21. Blender
    Feverish and bruised, dense as chowder, the songs describe danger and alienation in distressed voices. [May 2004, p.128]
  22. Uncut
    OnOffOn has an incredibly dense, thick sound, and it sags a little in the middle, but Miller can still write terrifically belligerent pop songs. [Jun 2004, p.96]
  23. Rolling Stone
    You wish the band would let some tunefulness creep in, but the dozens of riffs, guitar spills and slogans pack a messy, intelligent punch. [13 May 2004, p.72]
  24. Q Magazine
    This shows they've lost little of their sonic clout. [Jun 2004, p.103]
  25. Maybe if this album had been released in the mid-eighties I’d be falling all over myself to praise it, but these days there’s just too much stuff around that’s surpassed the music here in originality, drive and smarts.
  26. Under The Radar
    Burma seems to be playing catch-up after all this time away. [#7]

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. FrankR
    Jul 1, 2005
  2. Perry
    Sep 9, 2004
    Would this CD be so highly rated if it were from a band noone had heard of before? The best tracks are the old ones (which don't sound Would this CD be so highly rated if it were from a band noone had heard of before? The best tracks are the old ones (which don't sound that much different from the demo and live versions - particularly "Playland"), the Conley compositions, and "Into the Fire" (which I like a lot but it still makes me want to turn it off and listen to "Red" from the "Signals" EP). Full Review »
  3. Will
    Jul 1, 2004
    I always thought Burma were not a little influenced by Hendrix (Don't tell me that "eyes of men" was not informed" by "love or I always thought Burma were not a little influenced by Hendrix (Don't tell me that "eyes of men" was not informed" by "love or confusion"). Miller's playing on this record hit me like a chtonic meld of Jimi's heavy rhythm work and feedback --similarly thick, syncopated. Similarly Conley's bass playing seems similarly informed by Hendrix's playing, with his lushly melodic chording, hammered _on off on_ harmolodicism. Prescott often sounds like a less busy, more angular Mitchell. _OnoffOn_ it is a great album. I haven't heard anything with this much varied greatness in a while. When listening to 'falling' I can't stop thinking of the jumpers from the top of the burning trade towers ("tallest building", "heard you calling", etc.); I also remember hearing something about T. Donnelly --whose backups are tender and beautiful-- falling off a bike as a kid and breaking some teeth. Not naming any more individual sounds, or citing sources --all too easy--, I will say the chemistry is almost too good between the three musicians. It's refreshing to hear each of them sing alternately alone and in unison. BTW the Weston's production is unobtrusive, yet brings the sound a fullness like a thick lager, not quite an ale --perfect. I still can't tell when it's fake blood, and can't wait to land, but who can? Full Review »