The Mission - Carved In Sand/Grains Of Sand

They may have formed from the remains of various other bands and had their fair share of ups and downs, aside from Hussey the line-up changed numerous times, but The Mission went on to do some great things. Two such masterpieces were ‘Carved In Sand’ and ‘Grains Of Sand’.

Originally released back in 1990, ‘Carved in Sand’ has now been re-mastered and re-released. In the beginning, plenty of material was written and recorded for this record, but due powers of the management, not all was put to release. The band, feeling that some very strong tracks were missed out, quickly put together and released ‘Grains of Sand’ containing the remained of the tracks; this has also had a make over.

'Carved In Sand’ was the bands biggest selling album of their career so this re-release is bound to have the same effect second time around and on a new audience. This became an album I had to learn to like as it opens with a track I felt was completely inappropriate in terms of lyrics. ‘Amelia’ incorporates lines such as “daddy says come and sit on my knee”, “daddy came in the dark of night” and “daddy says don’t tell mamma what I do to you, daddy says if you do I’ll beat you black and blue”. I have never heard more alarming and disturbing lyrics in a track. I would like to know what exactly pushed them to the end to create such a song?

Besides the first track the album continues on a steady path. There are ballads (‘Grapes Of Wrath), heavier and more intense tunes (‘Belief’) and excellent instrumentals (‘Hungry as the Hunter’). The surround sounds used on ‘Lovely’ of sheep and birds send me off with visions of men singing in a field. Atmosphere adds a lot to how each track is received by a listener. Two such examples are the romance of ‘Butterfly On A Wheel’ and the Oriental intro to ‘Sea Of Love’. I did however, take a liking to the piano led ‘Bird of Passage (Demo)’

When it comes to ‘Grains Of Sand’ released originally in November 1990, the same pretty much applies. ‘Hands Across The Ocean’ sounds like it is made for the credits of a television sitcom, ‘The Grip Of Disease’ has a depressing atmosphere, ‘Sweet Smile Of A Mystery’ has music that has a dramatic feeling, like when the Snowman first takes to the air, ‘Divided We Fall’ has the electric instrumental and ‘Mr. Pleasant’ is more experimental with its sounds. The acoustic styling of ‘Tower Of Strength (The Casbah Mix)’ and ‘Butterfly On A Wheel (Troubadour Mix)’ are pretty good. The band tried to add a little humour within the bonus tracks by including live performances by the bands alter egos, The Metal Gurus. For this they recorded a rendition of Slade's ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, ‘Ballroom Blitz’ and many other songs.

If you had previously heard these two releases, the re-mastered versions are definitely worth a second of your time, even if just for the bonus material.