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Strange Cousins from the West

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(24 Reviews)

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The first new Clutch studio release in over two years. Strange Cousin’s From The West is the band’s 9th studio effort, and second with producer J. Robbins. It’s the first original studio release on the band’s self-owned label, Weathermaker Music

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  • Yet another quality effort from Clutch, my favorite band. I have been eagerly anticipating this one for months now, ever since hearing they were in the studio back in the Spring. And, true to form, the guys release an album that I will be listening to non-stop for the next few months.

    It is, as another reviewer said, a logical progression for Clutch. It is an album that has been building ever since “Regulator” and “Ghost” off of Blast Tyrant. One that is more bluesy, less hardcore and more restrained. While still as rocking as ever, this recent effort reminds me of a Corvette in the city, it occasionally revs it up but never really lets loose. What I mean by that is there are no songs like “Burning Beard” (“Swan diving off the tongues of crippled giants!”) or “Opossum Minister” (“Prathertown unincorporated, may you stay far unrelated!”) where Neil and the guys just open things up and let it rip.

    That is not really a criticism, just an observation, having a Vette is sweet wherever you drive it right?

    The only thing to me that was slightly disappointing was that this was the first album since Jam Room that I did not feel was better or as good as the last. While I still like this album a lot, I do not think it is on par with Blast Tyrant, Robot Hive or Beale Street. To be fair though, dropping those three albums in a row is hard to top.

    There is a lot to love on this album. Tracks like “Struck Down” “Abraham Lincoln” and “Minotaur” are just awesome. I really do not think there is a bad song on the album, though I do wish they had included an instrumental to round it out to an even 12 tracks. Long time Clutch fans will recognize some of Neil’s favorite motifs: Classical Myth (“Minotaur”), The Civil War Era (“Abraham Lincoln”) and Jackbooted Government Thugs (“50,000 Unstoppable Watts”).

    I would really say that where this one stands out is in the packaging. I love the jigsaw cover, the fantasy map it forms, all the artwork included and the “Abraham Shiva” foldout poster is really sweet.

    In all another fine effort from Clutch, even if it is not their strongest showing, it is still better than anything else you will listen to this year. Can’t wait to see them at ACL Fest in October!

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Posted on March 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • After listening to this album, I can only say that Clutch is one of those rare bands that never lets you down! Every time this band releases an album, they manage to evolve in an always interesting way while keeping what made them so great in the first place. Strange Cousins from the West has a really nice funk/blues sound that fits very well with the usual hard rock elements. I’d say that the first half of the album is better than the second, with 50 000 unstoppable Watts being my favourite song off this stellar album. Also, the packaging for this album is very cool, which is why I would recommand buying the album over a digital version. All in all, SCFTW is a really good Clutch album that every fan (or non-fan) should posess.

    Posted on March 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve been a Clutch fan since the first album way back in the early 90’s. When a band has been around this long and has proven the test of time it is only natural you have GREAT efforts and then solid…yet subpar efforts. SCFTW is a step down from the last 3 albums…HOWEVER, that in no way says this is a bad album, it is not, in fact it is a very solid effort. Personally I have always preferred the faster tempo of albums such as Blast Tyrant and Robot Hive/Exodus. SCFTW is a slower album than anything Clutch has done in quite a few years. Some of it takes me back to Elephant Riders but then you get hints of Beale St as well. The one thing that is really missing is the far out lyrics….Fallon is one of very few song writers that can just about produce an acid flashback in my mind with his words. This aspect is missing on this album, there are a few instances of oddball lyrics..but very few and far between, for sure nowhere near the level of past efforts.

    All in all, this is a solid around effort and any Clutch fan should be glad to have it in their collection. The packaging is AWESOME! It will stay in my player for awhile no doubt….but not as long as the last few albums have, for me this is another Pure Rock Fury….a solid effort but not my favorite of their releases. It will be pulled out occasionally, but not nearly as much as other albums.

    Posted on March 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • It’s remarkable that a band can be this good while still getting better on their ninth studio album.

    Strange Cousins from the West continues on the organic progression Clutch has been making on each album since their inception. It takes what was good about From Beale Street to Oblivion and makes it better, which Beale Street did with Robot Hive/Exodus, and so on.

    Awesome album and congratulations to the band on self-releasing it. I’m glad to know my money’s going straight to the people who deserve it for once.

    Posted on March 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The Clutch of today is not the same as the band who released “Passive Restraints” or “Transnational Speedway Anthems” back in the day. Their fans have grown up, and so have they. After making one of the best straight-up rock albums in a long time with “Blast Tyrant”, Clutch began to experiment more with blues and an almost “classic rock” style of music on “Robot Hive/Exodus” and then ventured even farther into that territory with their last LP, “From Beale Street To Oblivion”.

    This new album, “Strange Cousins From The West” definitely seems like the next logical step in that direction. The new album is “rock”, but probably not in the way that top-40 radio has classified “rock” these days, but rock in the way that I think it used to mean. The band is obviously making the kind of music they enjoy playing and hoping that their fans will follow them along for the ride. Judging from the reaction some of the new stuff got when I saw them in concert a few months ago, I’d say that the fans approve.

    For me, the sweet spot of this album begins at song four, “Abraham Lincoln” and continues through “Minotaur” and “The Amazing Kreskin” There aren’t any throw-aways on this album, and even stuff that I found myself kind of resistant to at first, like “Witchdoctor” wound up winning me over in the end. The main riff for “Abraham Lincoln” has been stuck in my head for days too…

    Obviously, I’m a Clutch fan, but if you enjoy this, be sure to check out their instrumental stuff, released as The Bakerton Group, because it’s some good stuff too. If the only song you know from Clutch is “A Shogun Named Marcus”, then you have a lot of catching up to do, because the band has only gotten better and evolved their sound into something much more unique over the last 19 or so years. If you get a chance to check them out live (they tour heavily) I would also say DO SO.

    Posted on March 6, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now