(Eastwest Records 9 May 1995)
After reviewing a few Platinum Anniversary albums that didn’t hold up well over time, it’s great to find one that I still love as much as the day I first listened to it. Clutch was never the biggest band in the world, and they probably never will be. If you’ve heard one song it’s either from 2004’s Blast Tyrant or this self titled release. But the beauty of underground bands is that they always give their fans a feeling that they’re the only ones who know about them.
So shit. Why am I sharing this?
Wikipedia lists the genre as “alternative metal, funk metal, psychedelic rock, stoner rock” and that seems to sum it up pretty well. When you pop this album in and hit play it’s apparent from the start that the riff is king. That slow rolling bass groove on “Big News I” just lures you in… “The fog is rolling in, the tide is high,” Neil Fallon sings setting the mood for the next hour. Damn, just thinking about it makes me want a bong hit.
My favorite track is “Texan Book of the Dead” with it’s immortal chorus of:
Sure, they stole it from the Chipmunks, but I don’t care. I like it better this way.
“Escape From The Prison Planet” showed up in John Carpenter’s “Escape From LA.” I’ve seen the band live a few times and I’m always surprised to see Fallon belt out the chorus to that song by himself. If you listen to the record it sounds like the whole band is crowded around a mic doing gang vocals, but when you see them live it’s just the one dude shouting really, really loud. And it sounds just like the record. “Spacegrass” is another pot song, this time you’re stoned and cruising around in a ’73 Dodge… or is it a spaceship? I always forget. Either way it’s a helluva ride. Whatever feels right, eh?
While it’s easy to see where lyrical inspiration for a song like “Animal Farm” came from I wonder what kind of warped mind could think up “I Have The Body of John Wilkes Booth.” I’ve written some oddball songs, but it never crossed my mind to write a tune about finding the body of a famed assassin. I guess that’s why I don’t make the big bucks.
They throw in another few solid tunes. “Tight Like That” is exceptionally tight and features enough groove to slide a ball bearing down. Then they end the album with a little jamming. Clutch is a rare band in that they can write really catchy and solid three minute rockers and then just jam out on “Seven Jam” and “Tim Sult vs. The Greys” to close their album. Most bands can only do one or the other, but every now and again a band comes along that can do both with equal aplomb.
And we thank them for that.
For more Platinum Anniversary Albums: