Clutch - 'Book Of Bad Decisions' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 04, 2018    
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It grooves, it roars and it dances - it's just wonderful.

This is what many will have been waiting for – Clutch are back, and what's more, they're funky! They still roar, and those riffs still twist and tumble, but this is as funky as 'Robot Hive/Exodus' and that's a personal favourite.

Just listen to 'In Walks Barbarella' with those horns blasting. Yes, I said horns; when was the last time we heard Clutch use horns? Have we ever heard Clutch use horns to deliver the riff like this? Jean-Paul Gaster has always had drumming Jazz chops, but with Neil Fallon's bug-eyed preacher delivery shouting "Weaponised Funk!", you see their destination. They still have their density and their stunning power, but this will move booties worldwide.

They haven't gone all Jamiroquai though, not when the riff of 'Vision Quest' rips your heart out and throws it on the keys of a barroom piano, or when 'Gimme The Keys' opens things with a sonic roar like a 747 taking off, Fallon's righteous indignation jousting with Tim Sult's thin riff.

There are fifteen tracks here, that's almost a double album. However, the quality doesn't suffer, it just lets them explore faux Country sounds on 'Hot Bottom Feeder' with their trademarked cowbell action taking up much of the chorus, but they also try some scratching too, whilst 'Emily Dickinson' is really just a call, literally, for her to make an appearance; Sult's solo joining in the call as an organ prepares the way.

The title track? That's all Spacey drums and bass slithering around Fallon's vocals, whereas the simple and effective 'How To Shake Hands' is Fallon accepting the nomination for President (about time!) with his manifesto (Jimi Hendrix on a twenty-dollar bill and Bill Hicks on a five-dollar note? Count me in!) front and centre as the band seethe and roil behind him. The sound here is worth a mention too. Vance Powell produced this gem with more size, more space and more power, Dan Maine's bass is mixed higher than ever, creating a fat bottom end to shimmy and shake with. No wonder they wax lyrical about him so much here.

Clutch have delighted and mesmerised over the past few releases, but they sometimes haven't nailed things shut. This does that by opening itself out and accepting all-comers; it grooves, it roars and it dances – it's just wonderful. 'Book Of Bad Decisions'? When you've finished this book, you'll want to pick it up again...

Steve Swift

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