Album Review: Clutch – Strange Cousins From The West

July 14, 2009

Algo ha cambiado.

Concept: Long time Maryland jam-band Clutch releases its ninth album, travelling further into blues territory while pondering their odd and translucent mythological dystopia.

Sound: Clutch’s music has always been pretty unremarkable, but it has always been fast or heavy enough to keep itself a comfy vehicle for the band’s kooky narratives. This is no longer the case, as Clutch steps back with slower jams and longer solos which are less inspired than ever. They’ve also lost the two newest band members that made their more recent albums so fun: Mick Schauer, keyboardist, and Eric Oblander, a solid harmonica player who flexed his rock muscle on From Beale Street To Oblivion. Their vocalist’s thick, booze-drenched baritone can’t carry the album alone. The only thing musical on this album worth mention isn’t really about their work as much as their taste in music. They continue their legitimate tradition of exposing great rock and blues artists by covering Pappo’s Algo Ha Cambiado.

Lyrics: Neil Fallon has often proved himself an eloquent, humorous, and well-read storyteller, so why is he tending more and more towards the tired and antagonistic devices of the very cherry-picking radicalists he criticizes? A lot of the time on this album he is not saying enough metaphorically or literally. There are a lot of good ideas waiting to be expanded in an album that discusses (through a backwards symbiotic invocation of the Civil and Cold War eras) the minotaurs of a spiritually mutated state, “the clockwork of a collapsing thing”, with a song about a girl named the V-2 rocket before chupacabras and Hollywood sleestacks turn on their masters while a crippled society across the sea cries “Fate is the idiot’s excuse. Freedom is the sucker’s dream.” An unusual image, especially with a new Administration. It’s almost as if the band faults everyone in this great nation #1.

Quick And Dirty: Clutch has taken some bad scrapes and bruises with this album, teetering from their definitive balance between fury and literacy. This album is for loyal fans only (♦♦½)


2 Responses to “Album Review: Clutch – Strange Cousins From The West”

  1. Hey fellas, the blog looks a lot nicer! I like what you’ve done with the place. There are way more reviews than I thought there would be too. Nicely done. Thank you for your hard work!

  2. […] The Man – The Satanic Satanist, Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings, Clutch – Strange Cousins From The West, The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love) Posted by KJNB Filed in Annual Review […]

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