Saturday, September 8, 2018

Clutch : "Book of Bad Decisions"

The bar is held pretty high after "Psychic Warfare" . The opener is not as strong as "X-Ray Visions", but it has a groove that is what the band does, there might be a little more atmosphere. I guess it feels like Fallon's delivery is not as urgent. "Spirit of  76" finds the band back where I want them to be. The title track has a similar slinking blues groove, though marginally less impressive than the previous song. "How to Shake Hands" finds Fallons narrative locking into to the song with his more noted personality. The funk to "In Walks Barbarella" is hard to deny. The hook is there and finds Fallon's vocals gather the needed grit to add to the song's hook. The more standard rock fare of the much less adventurous "Vision Quest" doesn't do as much for me. I guess when it comes to straight up rock n roll , it's pretty decent , but I think I have already heard these guys do straight up rock n roll better.

"Weird Times" is there brand of rock n roll once again, though the drums are more upfront in the mix and this album doesn't find the bass as up in your face which makes the overall sound not as heavy as the previous album. Their drummer is really sweating for his paycheck on this album, so if you are a drummer this will not let you down. When the bass does resurface on "Emily Dickinson" it doesn't have the same growl it's had in past. For this song they can get away with it as it's more melodic and bluesy. Fallon takes on more of a country croon, though in his resonate baritone. It wanders off into something more psychedelic by the end of the song. "Sonic Counselor" has almost more of a ZZ Top feel. There is a little more of Sabbath to the chug of " A Good Fire". The blues drenched hook bounces around the song and is what you expect from their formula.

So far the more explosive elements seem toned, so going into "Ghoul Wrangler" my hopes are high for them to rocking a little harder. It is however nothing new for these guys and I have heard them commit to this harder. I can hear traces of Judas Priest in the more palm muted riff. They rock pretty well into "H.B is in Control" . Lyrically this might be one of the album's best moments.A slide guitar opens the twangy "Hot Bottom Feeder".  It is pretty much what you would expect from these guys and rides a pretty solid groove, the bass still could use a boost and really the mix is the only gripe about this album, as it would give this song more balls. The tempo picks up for "Paper & Strife". It's another meat and potatoes rock n roll song, along the line of 70s radio rock like Mountain.

The album ends with "Lorelei" a darker more somber song, that is a nice directional shift. Fallon talks his way through the verse and goes into his more gritty for the chorus. It ebbs back down kind of like "Hell"s Bells" I'll round this down to a 9 and see how it sits with me, some of the more straight forward rock n roll moments doesn't do as much for me as the song driven by the kind of thicker grooves that I want from the guys. Sometimes it feels like Fallon's hooks are just being dialed in a little and they are working more of a formula, but overall their formula work, The Drumming and guitar playing are so great they can easily carry this album. 

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