Clutch - From Beale Street To Oblivion
Some bands just know how to rock. Yet again, Maryland rockers, Clutch, set out to prove that they still capable of doing so, an incredible sixteen years after their inception. On their 2007 release, From Beale Street to Oblivion, they retain their identifiable bluesy-rock sound with as much fervor, and room for stylistic changes, as we have seen in their former years. While their musical strategy may not be overly complicated or mathematic, Clutch reveal that their heavy guitar riffs and anthemic choruses can raise fists at shows--let alone capture their foundational southern-rock atmosphere that has garnered attention from all areas of the globe.
Clutch immediately sets the bar on their opening track, "You Can't Stop Progress," where a winding guitar riff grinds over lyrics half-spoken, half-sung, driving the song into its drum and organ-heavy chorus. As expected, clever, sometimes even comical lyrics fall into the songs on Beale Street, where the words are spoken/sung with a driving emphasis, like on "...Progress," where vocalist Neil Fallon quips, "I understand there’s no victimless crimes, That being said I feel rather victimized." All elements of Clutch's sound are steadily introduced on this opening anthem, which creates the momentum that is maintained for the album's entirety.
There are rock-n-roll gems throughout this album, but nothing stands out like "Electric Worry," a song that begs to be played live. With a chorus that shouts, "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Vamanos! Vamanos!," and instrumentation that combines guitar solos and country-rock harmonica riffs, the song explodes at its choruses and is near silenced at its verses--creating a powerful contrast in dynamics, elevating the intensity of its climax. The music is atmospheric as it is dynamic-volatile, revealing the multi-faceted sound of the band on Beale Street. This is Clutch at their best; it's scary to think of where they will go from here.
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on 2008-09-24 rev flying v Said:
Clutch might very well be my band of the year. This album is worth every penny for the two songs 'The Devil and Me' and 'Electric Worry' alone! This is a downright bluesy record, recorded in good ol' reel to reel fashion, with a new sound. It's got the riffy guitars, pounding sing-a-long choruses, and it swings! Mic master Neil Fallon is still belting out lyrics about how funny you look with a plate of vegetables and a star tattoo ('When Vegans Attack'), but also pens out some incredible stories ('Rapture of Ridley Walker,' 'The Devil and Me,' and 'Opossum Minister'), meanwhile the band keeps things bluesy with the half Mississippi Fred McDowell cover of 'Electric Worry.' An added bonus is Eric Oblander's appearance (from Five Horse Johnson fame) on a handful of songs, blowing through his mouth harp like never before.
on 2008-01-08 dscanland Said:
Fantastic review! I've been meaning to do From Beale Street To Oblivion since it came out but never got around to it. Thanks for doing it justice!