Consonant - Love and Affliction (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Love and Affliction (2003)


Clint Conley – the name didn't ring a bell when I read it. But I happened to be two years old when his first band, the legendary post-punk outfit Mission of Burma, broke up. I don't know much else about Mission of Burma, but I do plan on picking up something after researching for this release. For now I have Consonant.

Consonant was Conley's return to songwriting. Burma's first short stint, from 1980-1983, left him with a major case of writer's block, but he also started a family and took up a career as a television producer. In 2001, the members of Burma began rehearsing again and playing reunion shows, kick-starting Conley to begin writing again, some of his songs appearing on the new Mission of Burma album Onoffon, released two months ago on Matador. He started Consonant around the same time that Burma started back up, to give him a chance to be the lead, and as an outlet for less jarring material. Consonant released a self-titled album in 2002 and Love and Affliction in 2003.

So, as I cannot compare Conley's new band to his old band I have never heard, I will have to use other methods. I can say that Consonant has a wide range, from the fuzzy Foo Fighters-ish opener "Little Murders" to the Sonic Youth-noise of closer "Blue Story", Consonant cover lots of ground. The sound is never the same, with up-tempo romps like "Mysteries of the Holiday Camp" and slower simpler tunes like "She's Driving Fast". Other bands come to mind at times- the Pixies during the swelling and catchy "Dumb Joy", and The New Pornographers during "Night for Love", which is not quite as sugary sweet, but the comparison is helped by the fact that Conley and Carl Newman sound kinda similar.

Love and Affliction has some filler, but it is a strong showing due to its high points (the above mentioned songs) and the range of rock it encompasses. Conley has proven to be clear of that writer's block funk he was in, and if anything, Consonant has made me want to study some rock history and check out his old band.