Exit 4 on The Road to I WRITE LOTS ABOUT 2007 ALBUMS

Clutch - "From Beale St. To Oblivion"

For those who know Clutch, It's more Clutch.

For those who don't know Clutch, I feel sorry for you. We'll start from the top.

Nowadays, rock and roll is greatly ironic. Bands write trite little songs to amuse themselves and make money. Sincerity in rock and roll is really, really hard to find, especially in the case of authentic rock and roll. Indie rock is encountering it's own renaissance, which we briefly talked about last week. As far as real rock bands go, the field is dominated by assholes like Wolfmother, who think rock and roll is a big ol' joke, and they're going to go ahead and cash in.

And then we have Clutch.

Clutch is America's last real rock band. Under the influence, writing about gibberish, then playing their music loud and strong. There's no snooty elitism in their music, and there's no real grace to any of it. At the same time, it's anything but clumsy. It's just filthy and straight forward. And best of all, there's just about one new Clutch album a year. Clutch's latest album, "From Beale Street To Oblivion" is the follow up to 2005's immaculate (and my personal record of the year choice) "Robot Hive/Exodus." The album changed the entire Clutch sound with the addition of a full time piano player, adding the accenting that one could argue the music needed. It gave the whole album a throwback feel, as Neil Fallon's surrealist lyrics and the hazy guitars filled the landscape. To me, and many others, there wasn't a bad song on there. It's a hard act to follow, and they come close. With a combination of blues structure ("The Devil & Me", "White's Ferry") and occasional surrealism ("When Vegans Attack", "Opossum Minster"), the highlight is the two songs in the middle of the CD, "Electric Worry" & "One Eye Doctor." "Electric Worry" starts out slow, and low key, but very steadily builds into chaotic reprise before sinking back down again, telling a strong story of heartbreak, and the revenge of doing better. Then, very suddenly, it segues into "One Eye Doctor," a 1:23 burst of usual Clutch insanity, lifted from the "Jam Room" album, a compilation of outtakes, almost as if it was a wink to those who've been investing in all these Clutch albums.

Next Exit:

(picture later)

The Shins - "Wincing The Night Away"


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