Saturday, March 31, 2007

From Beale Street To Oblivion

Clutch are on a roll. Having released their debut EP in 1992, not many bands this far into their career are producing records that surpass their early material. Starting with 'Blast Tyrant' in 2004, they've gone in a much bluesier direction while maintaining their love of the groove. And groove they do.

Other bands may have better riffs or better compositions but Clutch lays down the groove that those bands are sorely missing. Adding a keyboard player (primarily on Hammond B3 organ) for 'Robot Hive/Exodus' they've managed to evolve their sound by adding the influence of blues music to their trademark big choruses and rock solid rhythm playing. Last year drummer Jean-Paul Gaster played on Five Horse Johnson's album 'The Mystery Spot' and so FHJ leader Eric Oblander returned the favor and added harmonica to three of the tracks on 'From Beale Street To Oblivion'.

After two quick rockin' tracks, Clutch lay down the thick groove with The Devil & Me. The album just rolls along with fantastic track after fanstastic track with Neil Fallon's always entertaining lyrical content. After the short burner that is One Eye Dollar, the album looses it's momentum for three songs that lack catchy choruses or interesting riffs, but thanks in part to Oblander's harp on Black Umbrella the album gets back on track. Closing out the disc is Mr. Shiny Cadillackness, a title that certainly fits in with the rest of Clutch's catalog, with contributions once again from Oblander and guitar by Bryan Hinkley.

For me the album doesn't quite top 'Blast Tyrant' or their self-titled album from 1995, but it's yet another excellent release from a band that gets better with age.

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