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The Roaring Third

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Album Review

On Prisonshake's first full-length album, The Roaring Third, the band gives nice-and-tidy rock a swift, unapologetic kick in the ass. Although it's unconfirmed if the members of Prisonshake indulge in alcohol, most of their songs sound similar to the drunken, ragged sounds of the Replacements, Johnny Thunders, and Flipper. "Asiento" captures the group in all of their out-of-tune glory, while "Almost Always There" contains vocals similar to Lou Reed (circa his Velvet Underground days), with clean, sharp new wave guitar hooks. Chief songwriters Douglas Enkler (vocals, guitar) and Robert Griffin (vocals, lead guitar) are not limited to penning sloppy r n' r, however, as they demonstrate on the calm and almost meditative album closer, "Seemed a Brilliant Idea." The original band split up just before the writing of The Roaring Third began, so Enkler and Griffin assembled a new version of the band for the recording of the album, a lineup which unfortunately didn't last long. Still, the listener gets the feeling that the group has been together for a long time, slogging it out in dingy clubs together and creating a musical bond in the process (check out "2 Sisters" or "Hurry" to hear what I mean). For many, there's a shortage of rough, unpolished rock nowadays, and Prisonshake's The Roaring Third will serve as a much-needed antidote against all of today's studio floss.


Formed: 1987 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Prisonshake's approach to rock can be loosely compared to Fugazi. Like Fugazi, the most important thing is the music, and they could not care less about record sales, videos, radio, or glamour. But unlike Fugazi, Prisonshake's record output has been limited to just a couple of full-length albums, plus a slew of singles and appearances on compilations, and they don't play live regularly. Admirably, they're writing music for their own enjoyment, and if other people like it as well, that's fine...and...
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The Roaring Third, Prisonshake
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