Strange Cousins From The West review by Clutch

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  • Released: Jul 14, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.7 (24 votes)
Clutch: Strange Cousins From The West

Sound — 9
This is Clutch. Their style has been one of the single common threads amongst all of their albums. Once again, the sound has an aggressive rock tone, with throwbacks to blues style riffs and Niel's vocals carrying a melody completely contrary to the backing track... and it's magical. Clutch has always been what I refer to as a "pocket" band. They find a groove for the backing track and just drive it and drive it home; each riff is an accomplishment and they sit in the pocket and play it and bend it and twist it to create subtle differences each time; while still remaining similar to how the riff started. This groove makes the music feel good as well as sound good. For this album, they followed in their normal trend; pounding out track after track of catchy blues rock riffage and niel's powerful vocals rounding out to an almost perfect sound. One of my favorites from Clutch; and I'm a huge fan.

Lyrics — 8
The lyrics for this album are what we've come to love and expect from clutch. Some off the wall, some devastatingly moving. "Abraham Lincoln" is grounded in such history; yet still manages to resound a level of emotion previously unheard of in Clutch's music. But on the other hand you have songs like Minotaur, which are a throwback to the "Robot Hive/The Exodus" days where only god knows what was happening in their brains when the words pieced themselves together. No song sticks out as particularly strong in this category, but none are weak either. And all are delivered with the great power and skill and melody that only Niel can deliver.

Overall Impression — 9
This album is a must buy for anyone who's ever liked a song by Clutch. It's just solid all the way through. Is there an "Electric Worry" type ear-worm on the album? No. But what is on the album are 11 solid offerings; not a single song worth skipping over. I don't think this is their best album to date; and I've certainly enjoyed individual songs more on other albums... but this may be the most well-rounded and complete album... from the opening "eastern" riff on Motherless Child to the last note of Sleestak Lightning, I thoroughly enjoyed it all. I'd certainly replace this album should my brother "borrow it" or any other tragedy occur. It's just so well rounded, something rarely heard of in today's music scene.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    p o e
    I bought this yesterday, listened to it like 4 times already, and i love it.
    haven't really listened to Clutch since Speedway League and the self-titled album, but i have cherished those for years.. this review makes me want to give the new stuff a shot
    My personal favorite is probably "Robot Hive/The Exodus" or "Elephant Riders." The only album of theirs I don't enjoy is "Pure Rock Fury" I just never got into it farther than the song American Sleep; always got bored.
    I'm a huge clutch fan. I have just about all of there albums, minus pitchfork. I even have slow hole to china on vinyl. I'm so happy to hear that this is another winner for them and I will be picking it up today.
    The album is great just like their others, and ZanasCross Pure Rock Fury is awesome, give it another shot.
    I am a huge clutch fan. And while my 2 favorite albums are Robot Hive/Exodus and Blast Tyrant. I still love all their albums, mainly because you can listen from beginning to end without having to skip through songs. The same can be said for this album. Every song just blends so well. You could play this album from beginning to end without breaks between the songs, and it would sound like one long jam session. That is always what I have loved about this band. They just make very Cohesive albums. I bought this album the day it came out, and still listen to it. I saw them in concert last month in Nashville, and man they sounded amazing. They also gave out stickers that had a downloadable track that did not make it on the released album called "Metroliner Special". Why it was not included, I do not know, but it sounds amazing and would have been an awesome track on the original release. Since it was a free download I will hook you guys and gals up. go to But hurry song is only available until 10/31/09 oh and the sticker is cool by the way
    Great review, I completely agree on everything. I adored Pure Rock, still do. The Great Outdoors is one of my favories. I still like Tight Like That the most. Neil has gotten away from sounding like I'm at a Rock and Roll church and hes the minister. Clutch is just so darn tight. Everyones dream of starting a band in high school and continuing on for over 18 years is just phenomenal, and they accomplished that with the same four piece and an occasional badazz organ player. Witchdoctor plays at least twice everyday on my player and 1000 times in my head.
    listened to some of this today on Grooveshark. I love it, and can't ever find a Clutch CD