Clutch - From Beale Street To Oblivion
DRT Entertainment
Bluesy Hard Rock
12 songs (48:18)
Release year: 2007
Reviewed by Goat

Clutch has risen from its Hardcore Punk roots to become one of the most vibrant and consistent Rock bands in the scene today. Each and every album has its own individual slant on the band’s sound, and each is excellent, but it’s the eighth studio release from the Maryland-based five-piece that we’ll look at today.

From Beale Street To Oblivion comes after two very strong albums – 2004’s hard-hitting Blast Tyrant and 2005’s Robot Hive/Exodus, the latter featuring organist Mick Schauer for the first time, the band’s first line-up addition since the early 90’s. Named after Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, an important location in the history of the Blues, host to giants of the genre such as Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King, and interestingly was very near where angel-voiced Alt-Rock legend Jeff Buckley’s body was found after his tragic death. With such a history, it’s little wonder that Clutch took inspiration from there, and the resulting Blues and Classic Rock influenced album is an excellent one, possibly even the band’s best to date.

Backed by a terrific muddy production, Clutch is on fire for this release, the guitars having an especially deep and bassy sound that works wonderfully with the Hammond B3 organ lurking in the background (with the occasional solo, and if like me you love its sound, you’ll be in heaven). Fans won’t need to be told but the songwriting is as ever excellent, each and every track here a killer. There’s nothing as instantaneous as the likes of Blast Tyrant’s The Mob Goes Wild, but give the songs a chance to work their magic and you’ll be in love.

Despite the strong Blues elements, there’s plenty here that is reminiscent of classic Clutch. Typically enjoyable lyrics from vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon such as ‘I’ve come to understand the rightful nature/Of gun ownership in the age of monarchy’ in the simple yet driving opener You Can’t Stop Progress make the album a delight, and the playing from all is stellar. Seasoned Bluesniks may well sneer (they’re as bad as Black Metal fans when it comes to keeping ‘true’) but Clutch has always had a leaning towards the genre, and letting it out in the open like this results in a strong collection of tracks. There’s even a song about the devil, called The Devil & Me, which has a chorus that goes ‘where I’m goin’/I don’t know/back to Tennessee/where I come from’ and yet the band avoids all clichés by sounding completely natural. Fallon’s gruff singing voice has always been one of the band’s strong points, and he sure works it here.

Whether it’s the mellow likes of White’s Ferry, or the rocking Electric Worry, you’re sure to have a good time. Clutch plays Rock for the ZZ Top fan as opposed to the Nickleback fan, and the quality’s indubitable. If you’re new to the band’s world, then an earlier album may well be a better place to begin, but From Beale Street To Oblivion is well recommended for fans.

Killing Songs :
You Can’t Stop Progress, The Devil & Me, Electric Worry, When Vegans Attack, Black Umbrella, Mr Shiny Cadillackness
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Clutch that we have reviewed:
Clutch - Book of Bad Decisions reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Clutch - Earth Rocker reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
Clutch - Robot Hive / Exodus reviewed by Goat and quoted 94 / 100
Clutch - Strange Cousins From The West reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Clutch - Blast Tyrant reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
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