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Alternatif et Indé - Released March 20, 2020 | Acid Jazz UK

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Pop/Rock - Released January 2, 2013 | Ace Records

3 stars out of 5 - "...A TASTE OF PINK! is bone-juddering fare....The inclusion here of nine previously unissued tracks make this essential for diehards..." © TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released September 26, 2011 | Ace Records

U.K. garage rock mavens the Prisoners had only recently given up the ghost when kindred spirit Billy Childish assembled a collection of demos, live recordings, and outtakes from their archives for his Hangman Records label in 1988. Fully 20 years on, Big Beat has brought Rare and Unissued to CD in expanded form, and while two songs have been trimmed from the set list ("Happiness for Once" and "Pop Star Party" having been added as bonus tracks to Big Beat's reissue of In from the Cold), ten more have been added, so the new version of Rare and Unissued weighs in at an impressive 22 tracks. While plenty of garage rock revival acts of the '80s seemed to embrace the notion of "the cruder the better," the Prisoners thankfully were unafraid to be tuneful, and in the grand tradition of British beat they absorbed an eclectic variety of influences (including R&B, psychedelia, and American garage snazziness) and held them all together with tight and powerful guitar interplay. (According to Dean Rudland's liner notes, this makes the Prisoners an important precursor to Brit-pop, but please don't hold that against them.) The live versions of "Coming Home," "Deceiving Eye," and "Come to the Mushroom" confirm that the Prisoners were a dynamite live act, "Joe 90 Theme" and "Revenge of the Cyberman" show they had a witty way with an instrumental, and their version of "Hush" rescues the tune from Deep Purple once and for all. And "Looking for You," "Ain't No Telling," "Love Me Lies," and "Mourn My Health" are simply great tunes that deserve to be heard. Big Beat has cleaned up the sometimes dodgy audio from the original release (though the live recordings from Switzerland are still less than hi-fi), and while Rare and Unissued is a solid set of odds and sods for devoted fans, the broad range of material makes this a better than expected introduction to a fine, underappreciated band. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 26, 2016 | Ace Records

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Pop/Rock - Released January 2, 2013 | Ace Records

One of the first garage-psych revivalists of the early '80s -- a logical move for mod revivalists who were burned out on parkas and scooters -- the Prisoners were among the liveliest, too, as borne out by The Wisermiserdemelza, a compilation of their 1983 and 1984 recordings initially released on CD in 1990 and expanded with seven tracks in 2016. Apart from lingering Paul Weller affectations in the vocals and the occasional Jam urgency in the rhythms -- not to mention a slight baroque air to their acoustic numbers -- the Prisoners often sounded like American refugees amped up on volume and noise. This made them unusual among their peers and it also means The Wisermiserdemelza ages well because it's stuck between outright '60s revival and punk urgency. The Prisoners are assisted by songwriting smarts -- they're not consistent, but they can craft a song -- but what puts them across home plate is that raw vitality, how no matter how woozy the studio affections may be, they always keep their focus on a love of ruckus. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released September 26, 2011 | Ace Records

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Pop/Rock - Released September 26, 2011 | Ace Records

"[I]t's the musicianship that grabs you, dragging you into its molten psychedelic swamp." © TiVo