Clutch are like ready-salted crisps. From the outside they look plain, maybe even a little boring and maybe you’re just sick of seeing their name all the time. But get a taste of them, however brief, and you’ll instantly remember how fucking good they can be. And ‘From Beale Street To Oblivion’ might just smack your head clean off.
Continuing their progression from bearded backwoods punkers to shit-kicking, rock’n’roll blues brothers (still bearded) this album finds the hell-raising spirit of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin and doesn’t stop pulling. Opener ‘You Can’t Stop Progress’ feels like the driving campfire boogie these boys have been working towards for the past 15 years, ‘Power Player’ could be ‘Immigrant Song’ reinvented for the noughties and on ‘Electric Worry’ Neil Fallon sounds more like a leering, crazy preacher than ever. Fans of Clutch’s very first experiments in fuzzy noise might find ‘From Beale Street To Oblivion’ a little too simple, virtually none of the band’s hardcore roots remain, but for everybody else there’s a party going on.
Some moments here, the Hendrixian jam-sound of ‘Black Umbrella’ for one, do simply drift by rather than stroll up your driveway and kick your door in. But Clutch have damn-near perfected their modern-day blues-metal here and such is the overriding rock groove, the powerful sense of fun and the sheer volume of bolshy swagger present that every single note on ‘From Beale Street To Oblivion’ could be one of those salty reminders of Clutch’s persistent quality. Superior stuff.
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