Sound: Over the past 16 or 17 years, Strung Out has been on the punk scene. With over a hundred songs and 7 full length albums in their catalog, a few are bound to go astray. That being said, Prototypes and Painkillers is the perfect Rarities/B-Sides disc to grab in case you were left out of the loop.
The track "Don't Look Back", recorded in the "An American Paradox" era, was a song that was put on the tail-end of the album, if you were lucky enough to snatch one of the first 10, 000 copies. Thing is, you wouldn't know until you took it home from the store and found out, as it wasn't listed on the copies that featured it.
In addition to other rare tracks such as "Lost Motel" (featured on the Fat Club 7" vinyl in 2001), Novacain, and Novella, there are seven previously unreleased tracks, an acoustic version of the song "Velvet Alley", and a studio cover of Ozzy Osbourne's "Bark At The Moon".
Overall, the band's sound has definitely progressed over the years, but from time to time, it's really great to see a band release something like Strung Out has with "Prototypes And Painkillers" to show you just how they managed to do that. // 10
Lyrics: Jason's lyrics have always been incredible over the years, in my opinion, and probably in many others' opinions as well. The highlight track to me has to be "Lost Motel", because that song has always had a ton of meaning to me. The lines "Nobody's happy with what they've got and what they've got is not enough" and "here I go uncertain that what I find is what I want, the best for me is everything, I reach for the same as what I'm running from, I guess I'll never know" always hit me hard.
As far as the vocals, you can definitely tell that Jason has improved for the better over the years, as well as Rob and Jake with backup vocals. The albeit humorous lines that are sung in "Bark At The Moon" are cringe-worthy, but it gives the whole album as a whole, integrity and character. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, "Prototypes And Painkillers" is a solid release for a band that has been doing what they do best for almost two decades. I sometimes wish that Strung Out would get more recognition than they do, but at the same time, I'm glad that a band like them can enjoy what they do for so long without selling out. That takes a lot of character on the band as a whole, and it's good to see that they are willing to revisit their roots and give the fans that have stuck with them for years something they might not have in their certainly huge collection of Strung Out tracks. // 10