Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Prisoners - Back in the USSA

The Prisoners
Back in the USSA
Smog Veil

Unrelated to the British mod revival act, the Cleveland-based Prisoners write tunes aching with promise and melody, as if at any moment they might break into the classic rock stratosphere. But the group is as ragged as a flag after a hurricane, with loose arrangements, imprecise singing and more commitment than technique. In other words, it’s sloppy, spirited and totally great. Some of it (Teenage Shatner, You’re Goin’ Down) rocks hard, some of it (Tied Up in Shadows, Society’s Bitch) weeps in its beer, occasionally it waves a lighter (Evangeline) and sometimes it even two-steps (Little Old Me, which features beautifully raw slide guitar). Frontdude Jason Look sings everything like he just woke up with the mother(fucker) of all hangovers, yet he’s driven to bare his soul anyway. Admittedly, there’s little here the Replacements (or long-gone acolytes like the Oysters and the Pedaljets) haven’t already done, especially back in the mid 80s. But how many bands can you name that truly carry on the ‘Mats’ rock & roll standards? Not too damn many, we reckon. So give the Prisoners your time and attention – they’re what rock & roll is all about.

- Michael Toland
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