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Clutch – Earth Rocker
Despite their music being used in TV shows such as Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead, as well as having been knocking around for 20 years with a back catalogue of ten albums, Clutch still aren’t as well-known as they should be. For whatever the reasons, many of you reading this won’t know who Clutch are, and that is a damn shame.

Their latest offering, Earth Rocker, sees them leaner and meaner. The more dynamic and thoughtful sound of previous albums has been somewhat phased out, replaced by tunes that are fast and punchy.

These are songs for cruising along the highway with your foot to the floor, with the driving riffs of ‘Book, Saddle, and Go’ and the title track raising the tempo and keeping it high. Although the fuzzy guitar tone and lyrical subject matter often lump Clutch in with the ‘stoner rock’ scene, they have a definite bluesy, ‘southern rock’ tinged sound that sets them apart from bands like Kyuss.

Clutch keep up their whiskey-soaked swagger throughout these 11 tracks, from toe-tappers like ‘Cyborg Bette’ to the harmonica toting ‘D.C. Sound Attack’. When things do slow down for the moody ‘Gone Cold’ it’s a welcome break from the fast-pace, even if it is an odd fit compared to the rest of the record.

Neil Fallon belts out line after line of raw-throated vocals, his stand out performance being ‘Crucial Velocity’, definitely one begging to be wailed along to. Guitarist Tim Sult keeps the riffs fast and groovy, absolutely hammering his Wah Pedal on ‘Mr. Freedom’s blazing solo, and the rhythm section of Dan Maines (bass) and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) keep things nailed down tight on the tubthumping and plank spanking front.

The production is clean and crisp, and you can pick out each instrument from the mix easily. It’s a little too clean perhaps; Clutch’s sound would probably benefit from a sound a little rougher around the edges, a little more raw. Fallon’s vocals seem a little too prominent at times, overwhelming the rest of the tracks, and none of the tunes seem to stand head and shoulders above the others as anything truly special. Minor gripes aside, Clutch do exactly what they say on the tin. Rock.




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