CLUTCH “Strange Cousins from the West”, 2009
Rock critics throw the words “Jam band” around a lot these days when it comes to finding a description for Clutch. The concept of jamming suggests improvisation, which is near impossible to capture on a recorded audio product. Paying punters have a tendency to attend shows to hear songs that there is a familiarity with. Sure, it’s a different set of rules with freeform jazz but that’s for other websites to deal with. Admittedly there is a similar spirit in Neil Falloon’s free-flowing lyrics and on “Strange Cousins from the West” the band feed off each other in a smoke-filled liquor-soaked telepathic connection to deliver the goods so the category isn’t ill fitting.
“Strange Cousins from the West” is one tight platter filled with Falloon’s smooth clear vocals over impeccable riffing and drumming. From the onset, you’re grabbed by the short and curlies by the bluesy Southern swamp rock of “Motherless Child”. Throwing down funk peppered with heaviness on “Struck Down” and “Freakanomics” strikes and hits the ball out of the park. On “50,000 Unstoppable Watts” Neil Falloon’s vocals bring Doug Pinnick to mind. The song really comes up a winner due to the magical combination of ballsiness and catchiness that comfortably drills itself into your head and stays for eons. Slow small flickering flames giving off a sweet odor can be sensed on “Abraham Lincoln” through the smoke of its heavy Sabbath groove.
Whilst listening to this disc I kept wanting to smash a Rubik’s cube to smithereens with a sledgehammer as the opposite sides refuse to match up. Saving the multi-colored puzzle from demolition is a laidback sense of ease as Clutch play funked up blues-rock. The calming effects will cause rigorously trained medical professionals to prescribe this disc as a cure for agitation.