1. The Incomparable Mr. Flannery 2.Burning Beard 3.Gullah 4.Mice And Gods 5.Pulaski Skyway 6.Never Be Moved 7.10001110101 8.Small Upsetters 9.Circus Maximus 10.Tripping The Alarm 11.10,000 Witnesses 12.Land Of Pleasant Living 13.Gravel Road 14.Who’s Been Talking?
With the release of "Robot Hive/Exodus" the band Clutch is on a path to Hard Rock dominance. On this release the group truly stands apart from their peers and bring to the listener somewhat of a return to a more classic sound. When you begin playing this CD get ready for both something different and yet familiar at the very same time. There is such an amount of good stuff on this CD and I found it all a welcome change from the scores of Metal pieces that have been coming out. I love the genre and please don’t take this the wrong way, but so much of it of late has sounded exactly the same and if bands don’t take the chance to mix it up a little bit we stand to lose it as a valid form of music. The guys in Clutch are 100% in tune with this need and have served up an excellent piece of music with “Robot Hive/Exodus”. The entire CD holds a big and heavy sound that might be better envisioned in the 1970’s and I think a large amount of this lies in the guitar riffing of Tim Sult the stellar keyboard work of Mick Schauer. Schauer actually uses a Hammond on the album and even makes sure to bring it along for live performances. This is capable of making a world of difference on tracks like “Never Be Moved” and “Gullah” most specifically.
The band definitely is a talented bunch with the unique vocals of Neil Fallon, drumming of Jean Paul Gaster and bass work of Dan Maines rounding out the other players mentioned above. The drums are solid and not over complex but there is smoothness in the sound like even the most progressive technical fan will enjoy. Behind the vocal tracks the bass runs steady while the guitar is seldom taking a break from subtle riffs under the main groove. I felt this was easily a CD to get people into and when I played it for Friends I found them requesting I repeat a track or let the CD continue. That’s a great sign for any band. Some of my favorite tracks include “Burning Beard” and “Mice And Gods” right off the top of my head. Yet since I found myself digging the overall groove being laid out there were not too many tracks that I found causing me to skip around. It includes a fair amount of Heavy almost Stoner aspects but does not drone on instead flows somewhat like a big 70’s act like Grand Funk Railroad would normally do. Having seen them perform I can attest that they are even better in person.
Packaging wise the CD comes in one of the Digipak fold out Cardboard things which holds some interesting and colorful graphics. The band also includes the lyrics for the songs and that is always a plus in my book. Clutch is the kind of band that belongs on a touring bill with a band like Monster Magnet or even opening for Motley Crue since the music falls right in to the pocket of “In Your Face No Nonsense Rock and Roll”. This release courtesy of the folks at DRT Nitrus comes with very high recommendations, so check it out.Start the text of the review here and write as much as you want.
--Ken Pierce 09.25.05
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