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MUSIC REVIEWS ARCHIVE

OCTOBER 7th 2018
CLUTCH: BOOK OF BAD DECISIONS

Review by Ruben Mosqueda

CLUTCH, the under-appreciated Maryland quartet, have evolved over the years into a powerhouse jam band that can go toe to toe with anyone from MOTORHEAD to PRIMUS and everyone in between. For those that don’t know, CLUTCH features [since their inception in 1991] Neil Fallon [vocals, rhythm guitar], Tim Sult [lead guitar], Dan Maines [bass] and Jean-Paul Gaster [drums]. For as a great of a band that CLUTCH are on their studio recordings they are even more explosive and bombastic live. If you close your eyes, you’d swear you’re hearing a band of old, seasoned blues guys, not the middle aged Caucasians that they are.
 
I have had a love for CLUTCH since I heard ‘Transnational Speedway League’ in 1993, and adore The Elephant Riders [‘98] and Pure Rock Fury [‘01], but it wasn’t until ‘From Beale Street to Oblivion’ [‘07] that I believe CLUTCH began to peak. “Electric Worry” is the best blues tune written in the new millennium. After ‘Beale Street’ they followed it up with ‘Strange Cousins From The West’ [‘09], then came CLUTCH’s ‘magnum opus’ ‘Earth Rocker’ [‘13] which is a flawless bombastic masterpiece, tracks like “Earth Rocker,” "Crucial Velocity,” "Mr. Freedom,” "D.C. Sound Attack!” and "Unto The Breach" simply crush. Next came ‘Psychic Warfare’ [‘15] with killer cuts like “X-Ray Visions,” “Sucker For The Witch” and “Decapitation Blues.”
 
CLUTCH have issued a new album titled ‘Book Of Bad Decisions’ which was issued on September 7th, 2018. CLUTCH began to tease the new album by releasing tracks like “Gimmie The Keys,” “Spirit Of ’76” and “Hot Bottom Feeder.” ‘Book Of Bad Decisions’ has several songs that that are slow burners that begin to simmer, then abruptly end. It’s like sticking in the tip and not getting a couple good pumps in. It’s extremely unsatisfying, but that’s perhaps what they were going for? I’m specifically referring to "Gimme The Keys,” "Spirit Of '76,” "Book Of Bad Decisions” and "How To Shake Hands." It’s not until "In Walks Barbarella" that things get moving in the right [or traditional] direction. ‘Book Of Bad Decisions’ isn’t by any means a bad record, because it’s a solid album, however at 15 tracks it’s a tad too long. CLUTCH have always incorporated some humor and wit into what they do and leave it to CLUTCH to not only write and record a song like “Hot Bottom Feeder,” which is about a recipe for crab cakes for fuck's sake, and it’s quite good! ‘Book Of Bad Decisions,’ unlike the CLUTCH records of the recent past from Beale Street through Psychic Warfare, will take a slightly longer period of time to digest. It will certainly be interesting to see how ‘Book Of Bad Decisions’ ages with time. Hopefully, ‘Book Of Bad Decisions’ won’t fall victim to CLUTCH raising the bar so high in 2013. Catch CLUTCH this Fall doing what they do best across North America, playing live and blowing minds with Sevendust and Tyler Brant and The Shakedown supporting.