Clutch


Impetus EP

Clutch - Impetus EP ©1992 Earache
1. Impetus (demo)
2. Pile Driver
3. Passive Restraints
4. Impetus
5. High Caliber Consecrator

Scruffy and blue collar to the max, yet literate and lofty, Clutch is one of those "love 'em or hate 'em" type bands. Either you are persuaded by their hardcore groove, Sabbath-with-a-cold style or you think this band is boring as your elderly aunt. This early EP, which was re-released in 1997 by Earache, shows the band in their younger days. Neil Fallon's bizarre wordplay lyrical style is quite intact here. With lines like "My father was black/my mother was Decker", you do have to wonder how many times his real mother dropped him as an infant. Generally it's true that Clutch's propulsion is Fallon's roaring shout and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster's minimalistic yet all-over drumming. Guitarist Tim Sult's main contribution is simple, heavy riffs while bassist Dan Maines chooses to hold down the fort with very subtle underylying bass lines. Personally, I listen to Clutch because Fallon is so literate with his odd words. Of the five songs on here, "Impetus" is indeed the best of the lot, carrying a lot of forward motion in it. The others are a bit more held down and not quite as energetic, but still worth the EP price for any Clutch fan.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1999

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Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes And Undeniable Truth

Clutch - Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes And Undeniable Truth ©1993 EastWest
1. A Shogun Named Marcus
2. El Jefe Speaks
3. Binge And Purge
4. Impetus
5. Bacchanal
6. Milk Of Human Kindness
7. Rats
8. Earthworm
9. Heirloom 13
10. Walking In The Great Shining Path Of Monster Trucks
11. Effigy

Although I love nearly everything else Clutch has done, Transnational Speedway League has not quite captured my attention at all. The songs are somewhat plodding and not quite as lyrically disturbing as later Clutch albums. This is the sort of album that I might put on on very sporadic basis and then just not pay close attention to at all. For the uninitiated, Clutch's main sound is groove-core, Sabbathy type of riffs, basic but effective rhythm sections and of course Neil Fallon's hoarse, powerful yell. Clutch is one of those things you either dig immensely or can't stand. Insofar as Clutch records go, one is better off starting with the self-titled album and then maybe working through the back catalogue.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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Clutch

Clutch - Clutch ©1995 EastWest
1. Big News I
2. Big News II
3. Rock N Roll Outlaw
4. Texan Book Of The Dead
5. Escape From The Prison Planet
6. Spacegrass
7. I Have The Body Of John Wilkes Booth
8. Tight Like That
9. Animal Farm
10. Droid
11. The House That Peterbilt
12. Jam
13. Tim Sult Vs. The Greys

An entirely different beast altogether from the music scene around it, Clutch has been grooving and rocking for quite some time without ever quite catching on with the ear of the public. A pity, I say, as this band is more fun than any number of barrel of monkeys and a better jam than blackberry. Musically, guitarist Tim Sult takes Sabbathy riffs and adds such a flavor to them that one can help but move to it. The rhythm team of Dan Maines and Jean-Paul Gaster is very subtle yet powerful, especially in Gaster's clever time changes and fills. This kind of jam team is rare. And then there's the vocals and lyrics of English Lit boy, Neil Fallon. His speak-talk/volitile roar express such sentiments as "So know you know not to clock the Weeble Wobble hot rod gang/revelator big bang" (from "Rock n Roll Outlaw"). These are the kind of lyrics suitable for a warped mind. Overall this album is simply a fun ride in a Galaxy 500 with the top down. I just can't believe I waited until 1998 to check these guys out.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/1998

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Prime Numbers--A CD Sampler

Clutch - Prime Numbers--A CD Sampler ©1998 Columbia
1. The Elephant Riders
2. Ship Of Gold
3. The Soapmakers
5. Spacegrass
7. Rock N Roll Outlaw
11. A Shogun Named Marcus

A neat little promo item that I picked up at a Clutch show in Denver. Featuring three tracks from their upcoming The Elephant Riders, plus a handful from their previous albums, this gives you a good idea of where Clutch has been and where they're going. And if you're worried about their future, fret not as they are only expanding and perfecting their truly identifying sound. The three songs from the upcoming album are groovier, heavier and catchier than earlier works and I'm already frothing at the mouth to hear the rest of the album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/1998

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The Elephant Riders

Clutch - The Elephant Riders ©1998 Columbia
1. The Elephant Riders
2. Ship Of Gold
3. Eight Times Over Miss October
4. The Soapmakers
5. The Yeti
6. Muchas Veces
7. Green Buckets
8. Wishbone
9. Crackerjack
10. The Dragonfly

Like the thunder of galloping elephants, Clutch continues knocking over all obstacles in their path. You have to admire a band that shows this much maturity and smoothness in the ongoing development into a truly monstrous group. Columbia record is pulling no punches in their promotion of this band and fortunately Clutch delivers an album worthy of the attention. Streamlining a bit from their 1995 self-titled album, the band still explores their knack for writing tasty riffs and amazing grooves. Singer Neil Fallon has toned down the vocals a bit, getting away from the layered shouting of the past to a more sing-song approach that really fits the songs well. And of course his lyrics continue to be a treat. His attempt at a love song (as he puts it in the CD-ROM bonus), "Green Buckets", is more of an exploration of suburbia than a typical love song. "Wishbone" takes a fanciful look at the Thanksgiving tradition. Meanwhile, Dan Maines and Jean-Paul Gaster continue to become a fantastic rhythm unit, while guitarist Tim Sult tastefully adds his excellent groove riffs. "Crackerjack" (which features the trombone of Delfeayo Marsalis, brother of Winston) is a great example of their ability to create a jam with meaning. Nearly every song here is worthy of some mention in one way or another. Certainly you could find the time in your busy day to ride with Clutch.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/1998

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Jam Room

Clutch - Jam Room ©1999 River Road Records
1. Who Wants To Rock?
2. Big Fat Pig
3. Going To Market
4. One Eyed Dollar
5. Raised By Horses
6. Bertha's Big Backyard
7. Gnome Enthusiast
8. Swamp Boat Upside Down
9. Basket Of Eggs
10. Release The Kraken
11. Super Duper
12. Release The Dub

Hey, there's a new Clutch album out! Well, sort of. This is a CD full of new material, but some of it goes into showcasing the band jamming, and some aren't even songs, but "skits" as the band calls them. Still, this disc's got it's fair share of killer songs, proving once again what a groovy machine Clutch have turned into.

This album was originally only available through the band's website at www.clutchgear.net, but has been given a proper release now, at least here in Europe. And it's a good thing too, as this is definitely a CD that shouldn't be passed up on. Clutch are still the same hardrock machine as they were on their previous albums, except a tad more experimental and overall musically diverse than in the past. Hell, the closing song is a seven minute Dub-jam.

This is probably also Clutch's most lighthearted album, both in music and lyrics. They still play the funk-tinged hard rock, but have let themselves more loose on this release, resulting in a disc that sounds very spirited, if not successful all the way through. It's all just plain fun, maybe even goofily so at times. Fallon even makes an attempt at somewhat high-pitched vocals, ala Brainiac, on "Gnome Enthusiast". A bit strange on the first listens, but it's quite fun, and works quite well for the song in question. Most songs are fairly short, often just playing a verse and a chorus, then ending it there, whilst others are more fledged out. Several tracks are also pretty much just framework for a solo or two, and these are in my opinion the less interesting parts of the album. Luckily these aren't as big of a part of the album as the album-title might suggest, so I rarely find myself bored with it. Production-wise this album is a step back from The Elephant Riders, but it's still very clear, and full of fun details. If anything it gives a more "live" sound than their previous releases.

Anyone who even remotely likes Clutch should enjoy this album. It's not their best release to date, due to some of the lesser lesser moments, but songs such as "Basket of Eggs" and "Raised by Horses" are amongst Clutch's very best till now.

Review by Řystein H-O

Review date: 11/2000

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Pure Rock Fury

Clutch - Pure Rock Fury ©2001 Atlantic
1. American Sleep
2. Pure Rock Fury
3. Open Up The Border
4. Careful With That Mic...
5. Red Horse Rainbow
6. The Great Outdoors!
7. Smoke Banshee
8. Frankenstein
9. Sinkemlow
10. Immortal
11. Brazenhead
12. Drink To The Dead
13. Spacegrass (Live)

Pull out your hiking boots, it's time to go a-stompin' with Clutch again. Pure Rock fury is the perfect name for this record as that's just what you'll find inside. Three years have passed since the monstrous The Elephant Riders and Clutch haven't changed much. Their old funky and groovy hard rocking is still in full swing and with great results. Yet there is, like the title of the album implies, several songs that go straight for your jugular and rock you to hell and back. Clutch have found their niche in the bluesy and funky hard rock leagues, so naturally there'll be similarities found to old classics like Black Sabbath and AC/DC. Clutch tend to mix it up with some ass-shaking beats, blistering guitar attacks and bass riffs that'll stick to your mind for weeks.

It seems their self-released Jam Room gave the band some ideas, as apparently this album is partly recorded in a live setting. Overall the album sounds much more organic than The Elephant Riders did, and thus gives that real rock'n'roll feeling that many of today's overproduced rock-albums tend to miss. Practically all the songs here are so full of hooks that it's hard not to get caught up and reeled in. A couple of misses do pop up though, like the rap-rocking "Careful with that mic..." and the seemingly pointless addition of a live-recording of "Spacegrass" at the end of the album. Standouts are hard to pick as most of the content here is of very high quality, but tracks like "Sinkemlow", "Brazenhead", "Red Horse Rainbow" and "Pure Rock Fury" come to mind.

Several guests pop by on the album, some lending their vocal talents to the tracks, some doing additional guitar solos, and one guy even pops by to add some bongo-action. The extra guitars are pretty neat, as for example on "Red Horse Rainbow" where Tim Sult does some cool duelling leads with Scott Weinrich from Spirit Caravan. All these extra guests naturally fill out the soundscape a bit, making it possible to find new things in the music even after having listened to the album a heap of times. Thankfully it never gets chaotic nor seems forced. The album's production is very bass heavy, much more so than I'm used to, so it took some getting used to. It is also a bit more raw than The Elephant Riders was, and presents the rock fury in the best possible way.

The band is tight as ever, without sounding clinical, and Neil Fallon's vocals are still cutting through with its raw, dark edge. As always he varies a fair share between his impassioned yelling and the more laid back talk-singy approach. Dan Maines' bass play is less focused upon than in the past, the album rather focuses on Tim Sult's awesome riffs and Jean Paul Gaster's varied drumming. Overall the album is a bit of a mix of their past three releases, Clutch, The Elephant Riders and Jam Room. Anyone who enjoyed any of those albums will most likely be proud to add this album to their record-collections.

Chances are that if you're into good ol' rock'n'roll, hardrock or so-called "stoner rock," you'll swallow this album raw and ask for seconds, as it might very well become the rock-album of the year. Highly recommended.

Review by Řystein H-O

Review date: 03/2001

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