The Prisoners

The Wisermiserdemelza

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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.

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