Prototypes and Painkillers
Fat Wreck Chords
When most bands release a compilation of B-sides, it’s easy to see why they were considered B-sides to begin with. Prototypes and Painkillers is the exception to the norm as punk band Strung Out collects a body of rare and unreleased tracks on this 25-track album that spans their entire 19-year-old career.
Formed in Simi Valley, Calif., Strung Out have always stayed true to their musical roots. On this album you can hear how they have progressed as a band and how their talent as musicians and songwriters has set them aside from their peers.
Songs like “Ashes” and “Mad Mad World” is evidence to the band’s early SoCal skate-punk influences. In comparison to newer tracks off of this album like “More Than Words” and “Novella” as well as B-sides from their last release Blackhawks Over Los Angeles, you can tell that the band has put much more thought in the songwriting process.
Included are two cover songs that reflect and page homage to Strung Out’s influences. “I’m Not a Loser” is a cover of iconic punk rock group the Descendents. Strung Out’s rendition of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at the Moon” will have you throwing up the goat and playing air guitar on a crowded bus.
One of the downsides to this compilation is the quality of some of the tracks included. There are a couple of tracks that have been previously released that are simply demos that only a fan would appreciate. On the other hand, some of their most popular songs are re-released in CD quality, an improvement from the mp3s ripped off of vinyl available on the Internet.
All in all, Prototypes and Painkillers is an album that fans of Strung Out will definitely enjoy. This album is for anyone that enjoys semi-poppy punk with a dark metal edge, or any metal-head that enjoys a nice light melody once in a while.
Give these tracks a listen: “Novacain,” “Lost Motel,” “Betrayal,” “Novella“
For fans of: Rise Against, Lagwagon, Bad Religion
– Edgar Delgado