8 Band Reunions That Actually Produced Decent New Albums

02/13/2012 2:14 PM |

Mission Of Burma, all grown up.
  • Mission Of Burma, all grown up.

We live in an era of reunions, with groups ranging from The Promise Ring to Company Flow to Refused to Archers of Loaf getting back together for one-off shows or full-on tours. For some, it’s about the pleasure of playing music again with friends; for others, it’s financial; for still others, it can be about achieving a certain level of closure.

A smaller group among the reunited take a different course: rather than simply returning to the stage, these artists also return to the studio, seeking to start where they left off. Next week, a reunited Jealous Sound will play the Knitting Factory on a tour behind A Gentle Reminder, their first album after a long absence. Earlier this week, the beloved garage-punk band The Oblivians revealed that they would be returning to the studio. What follows is a list of eight other bands whose reunions have yielded an actual recorded document, whether an EP or a steadily growing body of work.

1) Mission of Burma

The poster children for bands with a healthy post-reunion creative output, Mission of Burma returned to actively making music nearly a decade ago, and have since released a trio of albums on Matador. Ultimately, this means that the resurrected Mission of Burma has a larger body of work than the original iteration of the band; that they’ve been able to do so while maintaining a high level of acclaim has been no small feat.

2) Big Star

In the early 90s, a version of the acclaimed power-pop band Big Star returned to the touring circuit, featuring original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stevens, along with Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies. This lineup eventually released an album in 2005, titled In Space.

3) Dinosaur Jr

Much like their Our Band Could Be Your Life peers Mission of Burma, Dinosaur Jr’s pair of reunion albums neatly followed their earlier body of work. The reunion brought together a tailored version of the group, singer/guitarist J Mascis and his longtime foil Lou Barlow (who has himself also been touring with a reunited lineup of Sebadoh.)

4) The Feelies

Given today’s popular, post-Velvet Underground pop sound exemplified by The Feelies in the 1980s, and the fact that singer-guitarist Glenn Mercer’s 2007 album Wheels in Motion featured a near-reunion of the band already, The Feelies’ return to the recording studio was not much of a surprise — which didn’t make it any less welcome. In 2011, Bar/None released Here Before, which earned the reunited band a series of solid reviews.

5) Carissa’s Wierd

Jenn Ghetto and Mat Brooke, the two core members of the wrenchingly good Carissa’s Wierd, have been busy since the band split in 2003 — Ghetto with her solo project S, and Brooke with Grand Archives. (He was also a founding member of Band of Horses, but has since left.) Following the Hardly Art reissues of a number of their albums in 2010, Carissa’s Wierd released a 7” featuring two subdued new songs, “Tucson” and “Meredith & Iris,” last year.

6) Neu!

In 2010, Grönland Records released Neu! ‘86, a collection of reworked songs recorded by the acclaimed Krautrock group after nearly a decade-long absence. For longtime fans, this album fills a necessary part of their history, though for others it may not serve as the best introduction — the mid-80s recording setting led to a strange stylistic clash, fusing the band’s penchant for rhythmic workouts with the synth-driven pop of the period, a blend that doesn’t always click.

7) Lifetime

After reuniting in 2005, the New Jersey-based punk band announced a new album to be released by Pete Wentz’s Decaydance Records. The new, self-titled album fit neatly beside the two full-length albums for which they are best known, Jersey’s Best Dancers and Hello Bastards. That said, the lyrical concerns seem geared more towards the lives of a band in their 30s, though still full of rapidfire drumming and blissed-out choruses.

8) Rival Schools

Rival Schools, the band formed by singer-guitarist Walter Schiefels after the the breakup of the searing post-hardcore band Quicksand, strove towards a sound that balanced the visceral urgency of his earlier band with a more pronounced sense of melody. After their first album the band broke up, but reunited in 2008, releasing Pedals last year.

10 Comment

  • In Space is a TERRIBLE record.

    The reunited GbV put out a pretty good record just now, though.

  • Magazine “No Thyself” from 2011 should be on this list.

  • Camper Van Beethoven put out New Roman Times in the mid 2000’s after being defunct for pretty much the whole of the 90’s. It was good, and they have another being recorded now.

  • Yeah, “In Space” was a major let-down. But coming off of “Sister Lovers” is no easy feat. It’s just sad how much magic had been lost.

    I would also suggest Superdrag’s comeback album, “Industry Giants”. Solid greatness.

  • “In Space” is practically one of the worst records ever… easily one of the top three worst CDs I’ve ever bought, at least… laughing at that one

  • Television’s 1993 self-titled CD should be on this list – damned fine stuff!!

  • “evergreen” by echo and the bunnymen!superb album.

  • You guys are too harsh – “In Space” is far from terrible. Far from #1 Record or Radio City maybe, and not the tremendous album you’d think could come from four insanely awesome musicians, but with tunes likes “lady Sweet” and “February’s Quiet”, it’s superior to alot of the Chilton solo stuff. Give it a rest, please. People need to stopo dogging this record.

  • The Friends of Rachel worth is my favorite Go-Betweens album. All three of their post-reunion albums were great, actually.

  • Meat Puppets? “Rise to Your Knees” was pretty good, and the followup “Sewn Together” even better.