Clutch - Strange Cousins From the West

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RIYL

Corrosion of Conformity
Fu Manchu
The Melvins
Bongzilla

Release Date

07/07/2009

Tracklist

01. Motherless Child
02. Struck Down
03. 50,000 Unstoppable Watts
04. Abraham Lincoln
05. Minotaur
06. The Amazing Kreskin
07. Witchdoctor
08. Let a Poor Man Be
09. Freakonomics
10. Algo Ha Cambiado
11. Sleestak Lightning

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Max
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“Please allow me to adjust my pants, so that I may dance the good time dance.” For anyone that is a fan of Clutch, those are words that will forever echo through your skulls. The lyrics come from Clutch’s 2004 heavy blues-rock influenced, Blast Tyrant Blast Tyrant and marked the beginning of Clutch’s journey down the trails of blues intoxicated recordings, gaining a bit more mainstream success while doing so. However, don’t think these guys have forgotten their roots! Releasing their ninth studio album, Strange Cousins From The West, these guys have incorporated the whiskey drenched sing-a-longs we have been hearing within the last several years all while integrating classic sludged-out riffs fans first fell in love with.

Strange Cousins From The West is the first studio album to be released on the band’s own label, Weathermaker Music. Clutch, with the help of J. Robbins, pretty much had the reins on the production of the album, making the whole experience of the recording more personal. You can really tell that Clutch poured their heart and soul into this record. Strange Cousins… is a call to arms for all those who thought they lost faith in the band which, let's be honest, is silly to ever think in the first place. Right out the door “Motherless Child” throws a familiar sounding groove in our face. Not a rip-off of any of their other sounds, but familiar in the way that Clutch really want us to know they are taking us on a horse and buggy ride down the back roads they first walked upon. At first, the track might seem like it is missing something. Well it is; organist Mick Schauer (who played on both Robot Hive/Exodus and From Beale Street To Oblivion), is no longer playing with the band giving “Motherless Child,” along with the rest of the album, the familiar four man rock assault and blues oriented riffs, a combination we are used to from Clutch. Continuing on the complementing stripped-down sound the gentlemen have returned to is “Struck Down” and “Let A Poor Man Be”. Guitarist Tim Sult makes it blatantly apparent that he’s not going to let being in a four-piece interrupt his showcasing abilities. Playing deep-seated, fundamental riffs and continuing the steady flow of solo work, Sult is definitely on top of his game on the above-mentioned tracks.

“50,000 Unstoppable Watts”, the first single off of the album, is an unambiguous high point of the album. The track sounds like it could be something off the band's 1998 release The Elephant Riders. It really has that feel good sound the band is known for dishing out, providing classic Clutch groove and beer clanking good times. For anyone that knows a thing or two about this band, they know that vocalist Neil Fallon always paints an image with his lyrics all while adding a subtle hint of humor. Things have not changed in that department. Track four, "Abraham Lincoln,” starts off with drummer Jean-Paul Gaster playing the “funeral beat” on his snare, then that beat is joined by Fallon and Sult’s doom and gloom guitar work. Depressing as it may sound, Fallon then comes in with his lyrics about Lincoln’s assassination, nevertheless the man knows how to make any subject matter, depressing or boring, sound like the greatest thing ever. His vocals have to be one of the most distinctive sounding of their kind, always adding a bit of flare to the lyrical content. “Abraham Lincoln” really makes you wonder if Fallon and the rest of the band have a slight infatuation with our 16th president due to this being the second song dealing with Lincoln, the first being “I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth” off of their self-titled album.

The album is crazed with some unforgettable hooks; “Minotaur” is a perfect example of this. The music is discreet yet commanding, and the bridge is well-built into a catchy basic lead riff. “Witchdoctor” has a very similar structure and is very easy to bob your head to. The track most filled with infectious grooves, however, is a cover, “Algo Ha Cambiado” which in Spanish means, “something has changed” and is originally done by Argentina based blues-metal band, Pappo’s Blues. Fallon belts out the song in its native tongue and surprisingly enough sounds extremely comfortable doing so.

Clutch managed to grow into a rock band that we as rock fans can be proud of. Gaining ground and building a fan base off of playing live shows has really been the backbone of this band. Over and over again they manage to produce an album the fans will embrace with open arms. I have said time and again that the rock empire as we know it is slowly crumbling down. The airwaves leave us asking many questions and quite frankly (and I know I don’t speak only for myself on this) it leaves me sick to my stomach. I’m not sure how much more of this fake anger-rock bullshit we as rock fans can, or should for that matter, put up with. However, I will tell you this… Clutch is the answer. But then again, why should we share such an amazing band with all the meatheads in the gym? Let's keep Clutch to ourselves and let them “bang” Theory of a Deadman on their iPod while staring at their conceited selves in the mirror.

--Bill Lohr

Author

Bill Lohr
Last updated: 09/29/2009 09:04PM

Comments

thetsaiguy
07/21/2009
09:03AM
Location
San Jose, CA

I should check these guys out.

last.fm/user/thetsaiguy

Bill Lohr
07/21/2009
09:03AM
Age: 30
Location
Lehigh Valley, PA
Matthew Tsai

I should check these guys out.

Indeed sir.

cloudscollide
07/21/2009
12:36PM
Age: 26
Location
PA

Bill, enough reviewing your favorite bands. ;)

Rick Gebhardt
07/21/2009
12:47PM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
Christopher Pandolfo

Bill, enough reviewing your favorite bands. ;)

For reals!

Find me EVERYWHERE:




Bill Lohr
07/21/2009
12:52PM
Age: 30
Location
Lehigh Valley, PA

You should talk Chris! If it was a bad album, I would have given it a bad rating and a justified review. Just like I backed up up when you gave Dredg's new album 5/5.

homemadebullshit
07/21/2009
12:59PM
Age: 31
Location
Ann Arbor, MI

Clutch cannot release a bad album and that is a fact, one of my favorite cds of the year so far.

DETH ROK!!!!

Bill Lohr
07/21/2009
01:00PM
Age: 30
Location
Lehigh Valley, PA
homemadebullshit

Clutch cannot release a bad album and that is a fact, one of my favorite cds of the year so far.

IN YOUR FACE RICK AND CHRIS!

homemadebullshit
07/21/2009
02:09PM
Age: 31
Location
Ann Arbor, MI

The fact that you referenced “I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth” (one of my favorite songs) makes this one badass review.

DETH ROK!!!!

Max
07/21/2009
02:11PM
Location
London, UK

I'm a huge Clutch fan and must have seen them live 15 or 20 times. Not bad considering I live in London. This album hasn't moved from good to great for me yet, but their cd's tend to take a bit longer than I expect to really work their way in. Definitely very good, but I'm reserving judgement on it's place in their back catalogue until I've given it a couple more weeks.


Currently listening to:
Karma Rassa - Music Into The Void
Verse Vica - Endeavor
Troldhaugen - Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez
Eden Circus - Marula
Devin Townsend - Z2
Best Of 2013 - Best Of 2014

Max
07/21/2009
02:17PM
Location
London, UK

There's also a bonus track you can download from their website (assume it's ok for me to post the link)
http://www.pro-rock.com/freesongweathermaker


Currently listening to:
Karma Rassa - Music Into The Void
Verse Vica - Endeavor
Troldhaugen - Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez
Eden Circus - Marula
Devin Townsend - Z2
Best Of 2013 - Best Of 2014

cloudscollide
07/21/2009
06:29PM
Age: 26
Location
PA
Bill Lohr

You should talk Chris! If it was a bad album, I would have given it a bad rating and a justified review. Just like I backed up up when you gave Dredg's new album 5/5.

I should talk. But I did state that after reviewing LIYW, and Kaddisfly that I'd never again review another one of my favorite bands, and I haven't until dredg, which was my going out review, remember!

Rick Gebhardt
07/22/2009
07:02AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
Christopher Pandolfo

dredg, which was my going out review, remember!

Way to pull a Palin and give up... douche!

Find me EVERYWHERE:




cloudscollide
07/22/2009
08:06AM
Age: 26
Location
PA

I didn't give up totally. I still post here and make fun of Bill. So I feel i'm achieving even more than I would of if I still wrote reviews!

Bill Lohr
07/22/2009
08:19AM
Age: 30
Location
Lehigh Valley, PA
Christopher Pandolfo

I didn't give up totally. I still post here and make fun of Bill. So I feel i'm achieving even more than I would of if I still wrote reviews!

Chris, no matter what you say, I know to take it with a grain of salt. I know where you live, I work 2 minutes from you, I've unfortunately known you since you were like 15yrs old and you're on my softball team. You're done!  Now shut up and go listen to this album because it's great hahaha. Love you.

Rick Gebhardt
07/22/2009
08:25AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota

Wait... Chris is older than 15?  Coulda fooled me.

Find me EVERYWHERE:




cloudscollide
07/22/2009
08:29AM
Age: 26
Location
PA

Haha. I look 15. i'm 20. ASS.

RATM17
07/22/2009
02:30PM
Age: 30
Location
Iowa City, IA

great review... like many other clutch fans I have all their previous other work and can't see why i'd stop any time in the future. Sure, they don't reinvent the wheel or go out on too many musical limbs, but when you can rock this hard and get tone like that... just do what ya do!

Nice review Bill... these guys are hella cool, I hung with them on their bus during a recent show in Chicago for a street party at Kuma's Corner bar... real chill guys

Chris Kies
Associate Editor @ Premier Guitar Magazine
Contributor-Reviewer @ Decoy
chris@premierguitar.com

Currently Jammin'
Every Time I Die - New Junk Aesthetic
Baroness - The Blue Album
Rx Bandits - Mandala
Johnny Cash - Live at San Quentin
Mitch Hedberg - Strategic Grill Locations

Rick Gebhardt
07/26/2010
10:32AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
I'm really late getting to this, but I think I need to chime in to say that, being a Clutch fan, I found this one of their weaker albums. I just didn't get into it at all.

Find me EVERYWHERE: