From Beale Street to Oblivion



by YHB USER (9 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2007 | 36 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A witty, joyous hard rock album that's not only well educated, but tremendous fun to listen to.

“Every f***er just loves Clutch.”

Strong words from the UK Metal Hammer magazine. Ironic, really - not a single person I've talked to has said that this, or any of Clutch's albums, suck, yet they're hardly setting any bestselling charts alight, whereas almost everyone buys the ‘flavour of the month’ album each month, only to say how much it sucks. Nevermind; for those who’ve already bought this marvel of an album, they’ll know how good it really is. For those who haven't, then I suggest you go buy it and delve into some of the best rock music for a long, long time.

Even before you open the CD case, you know these boys are paying homage to their roots (and in damn fine style, I might add) - Beale Street is a street in Memphis, Tennessee, famous for its very own shaping of the blues - but make no mistake, this isn't a record that exists solely to hark back to the older age. It's very much a modern record, made with retro influences, and capped off with Clutch's own rock sensibilities.

Opener You Can't Stop the Progress sets out Clutch's stall for the rest of the album - it's insightful, well executed and smart to boot (“I understand there's no victimless crimes; that being said, I feel rather victimized”); it works well, as do the rest of the songs. Not only that, they're actually really enjoyable - litterally vibrating with melody and buoyancy, plus mature wit - see Power Player for those things (“You can always tell a terrorist, by his cologne and the watch on his wrist”).

And yet, even with all these things going on, they are able to mix up the formula, or more accurately, throw it out of the window - White's Ferry is a deeper track that will more likely reach under the surface of your feelings with it’s mournfully slow melody - right up until the chorus, when they dive into yet another dance-worthy Clutch anthem. Another track that eschews this formula is Child of the City where, if you can honestly believe it, sees this group of Maryland misfits sound like the polished funk-rock of recent Audioslave album, Revelations.

And the great songs just keep on coming - The Devil & Me, which deals with the aftermath of a failed friendship with Satan, while The Rapture of Riddley Walkerfeatures some excellent guitar work from Tim Sult, and Neil Fallon stamps his vocal mark all over From Beale Street to Oblivion, in which he makes shifting through different genres seem as easy as buttering a slice of bread. There's also a track from Clutch's back catalogue, much like Megadeth bought back A Tout Le Monde from previous album Youthanasia, Clutch has re-recorded One Eye Dollarfor this album, and it's a damn fine track, short as it is.

So what's stopping this from getting that all elusive Classic score, then, if all this is contained in the album? Well, there is the fact that it's simply not that easy an album to get into. It took me quite a while, and sure, while you can bounce around to lead single Electric Worry or Opposum Minister, it'll still take you a while to understand what you're actually hearing. And while there may not a bad song on this album, admittedly, not every cut is exactly gold - Black Umbrella, for example, lacks the bite of Power Player,and it's obvious Clutch's forte is rocking, which means the slower tracks aren't the classic cuts that they might have been.

But that’s not really an issue here; every track is listenable, and they're all worthy of their inclusion on this album. I personally recommend this album to everyone, even those who hated previous Clutch work, just to see whether you'll ‘get’ it. If you want some good-time rock that isn’t afraid to show you a few surprises, then this is for you. And even if that's not what you want, try it anyway - given the chance, From Beale Street to Oblivion will show you that rock doesn't have to be straight-laced, serious and concerned with the mainstream to be good.

Verdict: 9/10
Funny, quirky, and well executed - what more do you want?

Standout tracks:
- You Can't Stop the Progress
- Power Player
- The Devil & Me
- Rapture of Riddley Walker
- Mr Shiny Cadillackness

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user ratings (274)

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 2nd 2007


Nice review man. Love this album but I still prefer 'Robot Hive/Exodus'

Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 3.8

Great review man! Although their previous three releases were better, this one also rocks hard. Mr Shiny Cadillackness is my favorite track here.

Digging: Christian Mistress - To Your Death

July 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Spanking you very muchly. No one had bothered, so I figured I'd nip it in the bud. XD

July 2nd 2007


How the hell do you do a review here? Been trying for ages. Is it the explain my rating thing?

July 2nd 2007


No its the full review thingy. You go under the bands picture and it says add a review. You click it, choose a album, and write.

Digging: Chief Keef - Bang 3, Pt. 2

July 2nd 2007


Thanks man. Look like a right idiot now. Ah well haha

July 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

great review. i love clutch. this album took me awhile to get into cuz it was a bit more bluesy than their other releases. there other ones had the blues style riffs but this was a bit more focused on that. i still think Blast Tyrant is their best and my 6th fav cd ever

July 3rd 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Great to see another Clutch review on the site. Hopefully in the future we can have at least one review for each of their albums.

As for the review, you did a great job hitting all the points of what makes this album great. And I have to agree with you, this album does take a little longer getting into compared to their other albums. One thing you didn't comment on which I think is important to mention is the production. I'm not sure exactly what they changed, but to me, this album has a much more "live" feel to it when compared with the others.

Also, I can't believe you didn't mention When Vegans Attack. That's one of my favorite tracks, very bluesy, but it's still a great, rocking tune.

July 10th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

Not a bad album but it doesn't measure up to their previous work.

August 16th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I've had this for quite awhile, and I'm settling on a 3 for now. I figure it'll probably jump to a 3.5 tho. Everytime I listen to it, something different grabs my attention.

December 20th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

A good album but not my favourite, that would have to be Elephant Riders, I do prefer when they go for the rawer sound

December 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favorite bands... this is a great album. Each one is a masterpiece in its own right. This album is definitely blusier than the other albums, but it rocks out in its own right... "Heading back to Beale St, Beale St, where I belong"

February 5th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this is such an awesome album, i need to get more material from these guys

July 29th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

this is still their best album imo

July 29th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

i wouldnt say this is their best, but it still rocks. i like their more grittier style. i will have to say that seeing them perform Electric Worry live is one hell of a sight to see. the harmonica solo was awesome

August 4th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i love that song rapture of riddley walker is such an amazing song

January 6th 2009


Nice. This album completes my collection of every Clutch release so far. Great to see they kept the bar as high as ever. Best hard rock band around IMO.

May 15th 2009


I finally got into these guys, really solid rock album right here.

May 28th 2009


It is offensive to mention the woeful Audioslave in a Clutch review and even more so to suggest they share any kind of similarity.

Otherwise, I agree that this album kicks ass! Nice job.

October 26th 2009


Album Rating: 5.0

their best album yet, and that's an accomplishment! i thought they'd never live up to their self-titled

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