Clutch
Strange Cousins From The West


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jordan F. USER (21 Reviews)
July 8th, 2009 | 20 replies | 13,863 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Clutch continue to carry on the pure spirit of rock with this release. Everything that defines Clutch is here.

If there is one band that has earned my unshakable faith over years of following them, it is Clutch. Many others have felt the same way; the band has gained a loyal following since their start in the 90s. They may have shed most of their metal skin as they matured and followed rocks past back to the blues, but they have always progressed. The heaviness of their music hasn’t faded, just taken a different form. They have one of the most solid discographies around and if you are already a fan, just go get this album right now. For doubters, keep reading. Clutch strips back down to a four piece for this album for a bit louder sound than the last two releases. It's reminiscent of “Slow Hole to China” and “Elephant Riders” at times. Their strong brand of heavy blues rock is definitely at full force here on their 9th full length.

Neil Fallon’s relentless, hilarious and unique lyrical rants are always a highlight of Clutch’s albums. “Strange Cousins” opener "Motherless Child" doesn’t quite stick out in that area but the rest of the album delivers. What "Motherless Child" does provide is a more old school, blues approach to songwriting. It keeps things lyrically simple but the instrumental side gets pretty deep. The second track, "Struck Down" is where the album really picks up. It wastes no time with an intro and soon the listener is plunged into a classic Clutch powerhouse of riffs. It’s hard to get Fallon’s great delivery of the chorus out of your mind once you give it a listen or two. The band shows a bit of restraint when comparing this album to the last two releases but the faster paced songs really display their technical talent. The real power and talent in Clutch has always been the soul they put into the music and the amazing riffs.

"50,000 Unstoppable Watts" is one of the masterpieces of the album. It’s hard to describe the greatness of this song but I think I will go with “Pure rock fury”. If you listen to one song from the album, pick this one. It has everything a person could want in a rock song. The main riff has to be one of the best this year. At the two minute mark, it transitions into another great one while Fallon’s echoing declares “Comin’ at ya live”. It’s definitely one of their strongest and heaviest tracks along with "Minotaur". "Abraham Lincoln" brings us to Lincoln’s funeral as Fallon gives the tribute and curses the assassin. It shows how Clutch can slow it down and make things interesting. Another example would be "The Amazing Kreskin", another great post-apocalyptic tale from Fallon. Tim Sult displays some great finger sliding on Let a Poor Man Be for the great finale of the song. After looking for a translation for "Algo Ha Cambiado", I discovered it was a cover of Poppo’s Blues Band. Fallon seems like he is having a lot of fun singing in Spanish on this track and his covers are always a gateway to something interesting. The song also features some pretty impressive guitar work. "Sleestack Lightning" also shows off some real talent on the strings and makes a good closer to the album.

Strange Cousins is proof Clutch hasn’t reached their peak quite yet. I wouldn’t count on that being any time soon either with this being the band’s first release on their label, Weathermaker Records. Keep an eye out for them touring because they are quite an experience live. For longtime fans, this will not disappoint and for new fans, this is a great introduction. Compared to their other releases, I would put this album somewhere in the top four. Again and again Clutch proves they embody the pure spirit of rock n’ roll, making the current generation’s version of “rock” look like a bunch of whiney pre-schoolers.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 8th 2009


7386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very solid review! Clutch are consistently great and this album is no exception. It's less complex than their previous releases sounding more like an old-school hard rock record. Still, it's awesome.

Digging: Hilltop Hoods - Walking Under Stars

Phantom
July 8th 2009


8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. Can't wait to get a physical copy of this. Neil Fallon is awesome and Clutch just keep getting more bluesy

jrowa001
July 8th 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i expect this to be the bluesiest the band will get. good review for one of the year's best rock albums.

Bleekill
July 8th 2009


832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks dudes. If you want, check out the original review here. Nothing different but I could use the views. http://www.examiner.com/x-16267-Charlotte-Metal-Music-Examiner~y2009m7d8-Clutch-continues-to-carry-on-the-pure-spirit-of-rock-with-Strange-Cousins

handoman
July 8th 2009


2386 Comments


i want this. i love robot hive, blast tyrant and their self titled

DaTwig
August 17th 2009


217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review for a great album. Sounds like a mix of Beale Street and Robot Hive. Either way, I'm digging it.

ThyCrossAwaits
August 18th 2009


3052 Comments


I'm completely hooked on "50,000 Unstoppable Watts".

lobby
August 22nd 2009


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

What started well ended with repetition...still, enjoyable album...

gbowles
August 30th 2009


70 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good shit

Two-Headed Boy
October 23rd 2009


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

God damn, these guys put on a hell of a show.

MrButterfingers
February 2nd 2010


80 Comments


^ this

Bleekill
February 5th 2010


832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For sure, I saw them December 27th and they played 5 songs from this album and then went into the entire self titled one. It was amazing. They closed with Gravel Road and 10001110101. Best show I think I've seen, at least in the top 3.

VTK
April 21st 2010


76 Comments


Saw this at the store. I love Blast Tyrant and Pure Rock Fury, am I guaranteed to love this too?

SteelErectedb4you8er
May 3rd 2010


2616 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As a clutch lover, when I first heard this album...I didn't think much of it at first listen, but as I listened to it more it grew. It is definitely bluesy. It went from a 3 to 4 for sure.

Jips
October 4th 2010


1129 Comments


so should i go see these guys Tuesday night?

Underflow
January 2nd 2013


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review, but the album is horribly overrated.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2013


1874 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album obviously has a Blues/Southern Rock influence in general, and for that reason I don't think it's quite as good as some of Clutch's more consistent albums, such as 'Blast tyrant' or 'Earth Rocker'. The album starts out pretty well and even provides excellent instrumental performances, but something about Fallon's vocals just don't interest me in the same way as they did on other Clutch albums. Nonetheless, '50,000 unstoppable watts' is brilliant and 'Also ha cambiado' is a furious number'. It's just that maybe some of the songs could have been cut shorter to sound much better in general, as opposed to lengthening them to five or six minutes.

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

Titan
June 5th 2013


4884 Comments


Minotaur is such an awesome song

Underflow
April 1st 2014


2562 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Let a Poor Man Be is probably my favorite.

cb123
August 19th 2014


2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is getting better with every listen, ridiculously catchy



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