For Fans Of
Clutch is a strange band; strange in their minute evolutions from album to album sure they started as something far closer to hardcore than their current incarnation, but once the guys hit their stride with The Elephant Riders in 1998, they have gone to town on the southern rock genre, slowly bending it to their very funky will. Strange Cousins From The West has the four piece at their stripped down best, having let go of keyboardist Mick Shauer in favour of the intrinsically rock line up of guitar, bass, drums and of course, Neil Fallon’s ever more soulful voice.
After the excessive guitar wizardry displayed on the band’s last release, From Beale St To Oblivion (hey, I’m not complaining, that kind of six stringed sorcery is fine by me any day, shit, seems like most guitar bands don’t know their way around a riff at all, so you gotta be thankful for excess!), the laid back approach to riffing and song structure is refreshing this time around. That said, guitarist Tim Sult sure knows how to light a fire with his ultra quick hammer ons and tasteful use of equal amounts of fuzz and wah effects.
A notable progression in the overall Clutch sound has been the growth of Fallon as a singer the dude has always had a huge, barn leveling voice, but with the additional touches of soul to his gruff baritone, he can now often come across as the crazed leader of some weird swamp inhabiting cult of personality.
Closing out with Spanish language track Alga Ha Cambadio, Strange Cousins… is weird in a very subtle, yet thoroughly enjoyable listen and a strong contender for album of 2009.
If Clutch can keep up this kinda output, it’s hard to see why so many bands either find a formula and stick to it or change styles every album. Clutch once again show that you can try something a little different without losing your idiosyncratic sense of style.
01. Motherless Child
02. Struck Down
03. 50,000 Unstoppable Watts
04. Abraham Lincoln
06. The Amazing Kreskin
08. Let a Poor Man Be
10. Algo Ha Cambiado
11. Sleestak Lightning