Alternative Rock Review: Birth of Joy-Prisoner

Release Date: March 4, 2014
Label: Long Branch Records

Born out of a sound reminiscent of sixties rock on overdrive, this band has it going on. Psychedelic sounds meet the crooning essence of The Doors, Pink Floyd and MC5. Birth of Joy is a threesome based out of Amsterdam but their fandom is growing to international proportions. The members are: Kevin Stunnenberg (vocals & guitar), Bob Hogenelst (drums & backing vocals) and Gertjan Gutman (organ & bass).

In 2013 Birth of Joy performed over 97 concerts all over Europe. The sixth album in a very respectable lineup Prisoner features the band in their best form yet. In November 2013 Prisoner was recorded and produced by Joris Wolff and mastered by Brian Lucey. A blend of blues, metal, grunge rock and a bit of stoner punk, this album curled my toes a little. I haven’t turned it off for a week now. 

You know an album resonates when you find yourself humming it in your off hours. “Grow” is one of those tracks that comes grumbling and screaming to life with a hollow blazing kick start. Percussion and guitar grind and roar. Textured vocals scrape and smear themselves over the piece. It is modern art—a sheer roller coaster ride of gutsy essence. It is a finger in the eye to anyone who tries to check one box on the music spectrum. I love it.
“Prisoner” is the title track to the album. Chains drag across the floor. Hollow voices drift across the background and shuffle into a dirge of a background. It’s a different kind of piece to be sure. Monotone at the outset, you get an inkling of an Orwellian world staring back at you—the all seeing eye watching everything you do. Loss of innocence in a dystopian world resonates with this clanking and whirling cacophony of music. 

“Keep Your Eyes Shut” has to be one of my favorite pieces on the album. Smooth and full of Doors style sliding vocals, this one will stay with you long after the music stops playing. Heavy percussion, organ music and guitar blend with Stunnenberg’s vocals to give us a proper concoction of musical mayhem.

Birth of Joy’s sixth album is a blend of sounds. Not just one genre, it crosses borders to show just how versatile these artists can be. An international success, this band is a touring machine. I wish they were coming to Houston. Admittedly I liked the grunge sound the best with “Grow and “Keep Your Eyes Shut” being my favorites on the album. If you like the Doors, the grit of bands like Nirvana or even the smooth elements like the Smithereens then you have to check these guys out.    

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Grow, Keep Your Eyes Shut, Prisoner

01.The Sound
02.How It Goes
03.Keep Your Eyes Shut
04.Three Day Road
06.Rock & Roll Show
07.Longtime Boogie
08.Mad Men
09.Holding On
11.Clean Cut

Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer

June 10, 2014

Review Provided By Write a Music Review

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