Clutch - Strange Cousins From The West review


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Band: Clutch
Album: Strange Cousins From The West
Release date: 2009

01. Motherless Child
02. Struck Down
03. 50,000 Unstoppable Watts
04. Abraham Lincoln
05. Minotaur
06. The Amazing Kreskin
07. Witchdoctor
08. Let A Poor Man Be
09. Freakonomics
10. Algo Ha Cambiado
11. Sleestak Lightning

Maryland's Clutch have been around for nearly two decades now, have retained the same four members for the entirety of this time, have put out more album than you have fingers, and have toured relentlessly.

2009's Strange Cousins From The West marks their ninth full-length studio release and sees the band continuing from where they left off in 2007's From Beale Street To Oblivion. In past efforts, the band was perhaps a bit more wildly experimental, which often resulted in some great songs, but also in some misses as well. With Beale Street they kept it to a more direct and stripped-down southern-fried, blues-tinged stoner rock with a splash of funk vein approach. That trend continues with Strange Cousins. The result is an album that, as with its predecessor, is extremely strong top to bottom.

The band is tight, the product of countless live dates, and play extremely well with one another. They have a feel for one another's abilities that brings almost a little bit of a jam quality to their music. The result is song constructions with a combination of groove and a little bit of swagger as well. The great interplay between bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster leaves guitarist Tim Sult with the freedom to riff along or play something a little higher on the neck. Some of the coolest stuff is what's going on in the background, like the bass and drum work behind the solo on "Struck Down". The production is fantastic as well, giving each their space, drums sound crisp, the guitar has a good tone, and the bass rumbles along quite audibly - it moves you.

Singer Neil Fallon puts in his typical performance, which means some amazing vocals. From his soulful work in the dirge-like "Abraham Lincoln" to the well spoken but deranged ranting of "Sleestak Lightning", his voice, delivery and presence complete the Clutch package. His lyrics are as sharp as ever, with some great sing-along moments and some moments that are downright hilarious, like this passage from "Sleestak Lightning" describing the Chupacabra-esque being the narrator is stalking:

"It's got red eyes/It's got razor claws/It's got green skin/No it ain't a meth-head."

Speaking of the Clutch package, even the packaging of this album was simply amazing. Apparently Neil was not happy with the lame short booklet and boring artwork that accompanied Beale Street, so the artistic team went balls-out nuts on this project. Just a first class job that is really high on the wow factor for a regular release CD that is far better seen than described.

So Clutch isn't a metal band, but they sure as Hades rocked Hellfest a month ago, and if you check out Strange Cousins From The West they will rock you as well.

Stand-out tracks: "50,000 Unstoppable Watts", "Amazing Kreskin", and "Sleestak Lightning", which really ends the album on a high note.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Written on 24.07.2009 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.


Comments: 12   Visited by: 185 users
24.07.2009 - 23:25
I've only listened a few times so far, but it seems it will be far more memorable than Beale St. These guys just never suck.
24.07.2009 - 23:59
No matter what the state of the world is, Clutch always put out amazing albums. Can't wait until August 8th in Baltimore. OOOOOH Abraham Lincoln!!!
25.07.2009 - 05:51
This album feels like a reemergence of the Blast Tyrant Clutch that I love so very much. "Minotaur" and "The Amazing Kreskin" are personal favorites of mine. Despite being a hard-rock band (among other non-metal per-se labels that certainly apply) Clutch deserves a page on this site. They're already listed in my favorite band list (which should undoubtedly be an honor for all bands). Thanks for the review and giving the band the coverage it deserves.
25.07.2009 - 22:45
Urban Monster
Blues-tinged you say ? with funk influences ? I want to check this band out.
Any man can stand adversity, but to test his character give him power - A. Lincoln
26.07.2009 - 03:03
Born Too Late
Written by Visioneerie on 25.07.2009 at 22:45

Blues-tinged you say ? with funk influences ? I want to check this band out.

Clutch are amazing ^^ I saw them live last year, possible one o' the best gigs I've been too, you should check out Robot Hive Exodus and Pure Rock Fury, and maybe Blast Tyrant, and the songs Open Up The Border, Careful With That Mic, 10001110101, Burning Beard, The Incomparible Mr Flannery, these are my favs .
'I wish you all had one neck and that I had my hands on it.'
29.07.2009 - 17:10
I lost interest in these guys with The Elephant Riders, but if you want to go way way back to say Transnational Speedway League or the eponymous Clutch albums you have some awesomely powerful sh*t there baby! 'Escape From the Prison Planet' especially is a favorite as my band jams it all the time.
31.07.2009 - 01:51
Totemic Lust
Nice review Bitter, you gave me the information that pushed me over the edge on buying this one
11.08.2009 - 05:31
Account deleted
Don't dig it
13.08.2009 - 08:17
Greg L.
Saw Clutch live in 06 at Sounds of the Underground tour. They were pretty different, but very good! Kinda seemed like stoner rock to me
14.10.2009 - 11:18
Good album, but a small step down from their last three

it just doesn't seem to be as energetic I guess
01.03.2010 - 06:40
They crushed it in Bmore in Aug and in DC at the 9:30 club. Been listening to them for many years now. Every album has a different feel, so it's hard to fit them in to one style of music.

Just more proof that Maryland/Baltimore has one of the best music scenes around.
29.09.2010 - 09:37
This album is one of the many from 2009 that I've grown disgustingly fond of. I take back all of the shit I've given it. Clutch still has it. Apparently they're working on a new album already too! Omfg!

EDIT: Eh, I don't know if I agree with that. Biggest complaint is that Sult's riffs get pretty tedious. They're definitely lacking in the energy/variation department this time around. Second gripe is minor. Neil's newish vocal style worked really well on Beale Street, but gets a tad trying on this one.

Still a drooling fanboy, btw. Expecting something pretty huge for their next album. They were tied up with the "diabolical amalgamations of DRT" (in Neil's words) around the time they wrote/recorded this.

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