Prisoner album cover by Birth of Joy

Birth of Joy – Prisoner

Birth of Joy
Long Branch Records/SPV

A strange choice for a band name, it’s hard to gauge where exactly this band is trying to go. Are they ‘90s grunge rock? Are they ‘70s acid psychedelia? I can lay to rest that Birth of Joy is a little bit of both.

Even though they do not resemble the era of exploitation film, I cannot help but get images of Herschel Gordon Lewis or Ray Dennis Steckler stuck in my head. “Keep Your Eyes Shut” would be a decent fit if ever anyone did an upgrade to Ed Wood’s “Orgy of the Dead” (which I sincerely hope never happens).

Prisoner leans more toward The Black Keys territory than gritty psychedelic fuzz. It could be the blues-laden riffs or that Brian Lucy mastered this album just like he mastered The Black Keys.

The classic rock groove with slicked-back garage amp fuzz is a great idea. Prisoner will not win me over. Sure their power and energy profuse in “Grow” and the loud blues swagger on “Mad Men” gives you motivation to squeeze into those tight rock pants and feel the aura of great rock. Yet the tempo of “The Sound” over-accelerates things and the finale of “Clean Cut” is just mundane rock.

Slow it down boys. Let it come naturally. Their freak-out moments are not freaked out enough and the ball-blazing rockers that are a little too anxious.

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