Album Reviews

Album Review: CLUTCH – Book of Bad Decisions

Weathermaker Records | 07 September 2018

CLUTCH - BOOK OF BAD DECISIONS Once again Lovelies, CLUTCH keeps their handshake promise with fans to put out new music as Weathermaker Records releases the band’s 12th album entitled,  Book of Bad Decisions on September 7th, 2018.  Last year, when CLUTCH came through Dallas and I covered their sold-out show, was one of the highlights of 2017 and I got to catch part of their set at ROCKLAHOMA this year.

I must have been a good girl this year because lo and behold Musical Santa Claus has given me a kick-ass gift; CLUTCH is on the road with SEVENDUST!!! AACCKKK! I can’t wait for their stop in Dallas! I also am totally excited to see TYLER BRANDT & THE SHAKEDOWN because I hear so many good things about this band! So glad Musical Santa can have Music-mas any time he wants!

But first things first. My review of Book Of Bad Decisions and the 13 songs etched on this record because that’s why you’re here, right? I made a promise to myself to stay on track and on topic and not to slide off the top of the task cracker that I’m currently on.  I almost did in the above paragraph, but, I reeled that big, squirming ADHD trout right back in, didn’t I? #hellyes #progress

Here it is track by track, my review as I’m listening:

Gimme The KeysHow does this band from 1 min and 17 seconds create a total goosebump reaction? This song is scooped out of the River of Clutch and is literally dumped on the heads of listeners. And as this desert people-kinda feel washes over at the start, you’re instantly hooked on the music and the story. Mega beginning for the new record!

Spirit of ’76 – Does anyone remember ’76 when everyone was talking about the Bicentennial in the US, the Freedom Train with a bunch of memorabilia from 1976 rolled into cities along the rails of the US?? Dude, the guitars on this track would destroy a Pinto from the inside out, but g’dam would sound killer boosted out from a Cutlass or even an Impala. There’s an air of memories within this song and I love the way it makes me feel to think of them as the music meets in the invisible space between my ears. Love the drums, and the lead guitar part, #killsit.

Book of Bad Decisions – Greetings, Title Track! Here’s a strong frontrunner for being a favorite from this record. _’s voice is thick and drags those feel-good-feelings down your back. It’s strong with the groove that CLUTCH birthed from their musical, and collective loins and that can’t be imitated no matter how hard someone tries. This song has phenomenal strength with the beats and the grooves – damn, this song has it all! Watch out for the guitar solo, it’ll make you take a step back, that’s for sure!

How to Shake Hands – You’re gonna wanna shake your ass to this track, it’s light, fast, with an underlining speedy drum beat that pulls you through this story about kissing babies and shaking hands. Now, whatever Neil means with the literal meaning of the lyrics, the next person that runs for president should adopt this platform. Who wouldn’t want Hendrix’s face on a $20 bill? I’d love a public official to want to have a “collective destiny” or for the freakin’ UFO files to be revealed or a ride on that UFO, wouldn’t Y’all? I mean, we are the “united” states, not the “dislocated” states.

In Walks Barbarella Get back, Jack!! Time traveling back to the days of bad cop television series, long gas lines, presidents that farmed peanuts, and probably where we start looking over our shoulders from feeling something following us, this song drips with the funk that falls naturally off CLUTCH. If this “Defcon, tractor beams, weaponized funk” is in reference to the 70’s and Electric Barbarella, I love it! I love the funk groove of this song, you get right into that swing that takes you through the whole song. You can also order the sweet 7” single on vinyl right here. www.pro-rock.com

Vision Quest – A melody pounded out on the ivories gives this song a jolt of chaos that’s met right alongside the guitars, that have been revved up to chase the listener, hell yes! Dancing in my office chair like Tina Turner on stage after Ike, this song blows by so fast as you’re just swept up in it and boom it’s over! I love the somewhat playfulness of the tempo and that guitar solo that is harpsichord-ish in the middle is bad to the bone and the piano pounds through to the end, which just brings it all full circle and you wanna just press the replay button to find something else tucked away in this track.

Weird Times – I love the choppy breaks in Neil’s voice that is mirrored by the guitar tone – either his or Tim’s. I love the drums in this track, they’re like the rhythm of some machine that is made up of gears and wheels that’s been wound up and released backward, it’s fabulous for that feeling to exist in a song because it makes you play along. On a side note, do you think these “Weird Times” are upon us or that this “cosmic revelation” is coming or is already here? That over the next several years we’ll get introduced slowly to the truth of aliens? I do. I think it’s happening now.

Emily Dickinson – WHAT!?! OMG get ready to stand up and sing the chorus like you’re on American Idol – that is after you’ve heard it a couple of times. But on your first pass, just wait for it, y’all. You’ll know exactly where in this track my reaction stems from. Mother of Pearl __ slays this whole damn song. It’s no secret that CLUTCH has a way of telling stories that personify the subject in a song. IMHO, it’s one of the best things about this band. The ability to add a picture to the blank paper in listener’s minds by taking facts, fictions, fish tales, wives tales, or CLUTCH tales are always told with that same fervor that makes fans love this band.

Sonic CounselorI want to be a backup singer on this song with some white gogo boots and a mustard yellow one-piece jumper. The track is funneled through the funk-groove-rock music maker as every element of those styles of music is mashed into the fabric. All of this track: the lyrics, melody, beat, and flow creates the cloth that covers us up, like fig leaves did in the Garden Of Eden. BTW, did you know that according to new translations of old text from before biblical times describes the serpent as being sent to protect Eve the human and in essence protect humanity itself? Well, it’s something like that – look it up on the internet machine, it’s a true story. Well, the part about another text from before the biblical text, that part is true. #IThink  

A Good Fire – Picturing Neil’s stance onstage as he starts to sing, is already formed in my mind. As the track radiates some badass time signatures that Tim/Neil’s guitars lead the way, waving the CLUTCH flag on the back of a horse. I don’t know where this imagery comes from, but I see that flag waving in time and in slow-mo throughout the whole song! There are some sweet licks and low rumbles that just add to the weight needed for CLUTCH to engage, ya know what I mean? This band doesn’t write light or nonsensical music, at least I don’t think they do!

Ghoul Wrangler – similar to a grainy, low budget Western on a Saturday mid-morning, muted and flickering in the background this track unfolds with spirited runs, amped guitar tones, and some fancy drumming that is really the foundation for this song that might seem like a repetitive mixture can’t serve as a foundation, but go back and listen again. You see what I’m talking about? I thought you might!  

H.B. Is In ControlDude, one of my favorite things about CLUTCH is that buzzed tone in between those layers of Neil’s voice and Jean-Paul’s drums. This track has a sick build that blasts out at the end of the track and although you’re not sure what just happened, it’s doubtful that you have any facilities left from this track controlling you.  Who is this Harmonious (or could it be a Harmonist Boss that’s in control of Neil’s guitar?? hmmmm???)  Boss that’s in control of my mind, anyway? A myriad of visual flashes groups together the big picture as you step back.

Hot Bottom FeederI’ll follow those breadcrumbs, you can bet your bottom fed bootie I will! Back Bayou riffs slosh up from the swampy middles within that buzz and attach themselves like river leeches sucking out the toxins. Killer guitar solo that sounds like a scratch track like they used to do, you know what I mean? Like they actually scratch the record on the turntable…and yes, I’m making the hand gesture as I try to verbally explain the sound I’m hearing from those killer guit-fiddles.

Paper & Strife – Bring that bass! This smooth low brings out the girth of two tuna cans stacked on top of each other, echoes with the lows of the working man/woman riding shotgun to the story. Neil can rock a delivery a chorus and that Medusa infused instrument-based “waaah” sound that’s closing out the song magnifies the low registers found in everything around us, this song included.

Lorelei The last track on Book Of Bad Decisions starts with a buzz that melts into the guitars and right as the bass kicks in, you know you’re being set up for a f’ing good mind-movie that folds around inside your mind just like the movements of fractals and kaleidoscopes.  All backed by the soundtrack from CLUTCH in the background. Slow but concise measured whips of the sticks along with the rustle of the snare that sounds like the rustle of air catching up to you, while you catch your breath even and gasp with the pause at the chorus. Ballz, this track is just righteous, in every sense.

Well, there you have it Pretties! Book Of Bad Decisions is in the books for this Birdie! It’s not likely this album is going to leave my ears for the remainder of the year and beyond. It’s definitely a winner for Weathermaker Records, the band’s own label, so that makes it a win-win, right? It does in my book – but not the Bad Decisions Book, this would have to be in Bird’s Book Of Badass Decisions that I am currently adding to the content of daily.

The production of the record is spot on perfect and it may be my shitty earbuds that I had to jam in my ear holes because I couldn’t find my good ones, but it seemed to have a little bit of an analog clone in the whine of the recording. If it doesn’t and it is my shitty speakers that are crammed in my ears, then maybe they aren’t so shitty after all. The mix of the record is fantastic and everything that’s supposed to meet in the middle does. There’s a balance in well-produced music that should be praised like an ancient God or Goddess was by their followers.

Congrats to the whole CLUTCH camp for this beauty and a round of drinks or ticker-tape parade goes out to everyone involved with Book Of Bad Decisions!

Not to mention if you’ve seen the super-limited release on 7″ vinyl of In Walks Barberella – scoop that up! It came out August 24th and won’t last long!

Til Next Time – MRML – Cherri

 

Links & Tour Dates

Fans can pre-order the record here: www.pro-rock.com

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/clutchband

Instagram: www.instagram.com/clutchofficial

Twitter: www.twitter.com/clutchofficial

Official: www.pro-rock.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

 

Upcoming Tour Dates 2018:

Sunday, 9-16-18 in Chicago, IL at RiotFest **

DreamHost

Tuesday, 9-18-18 in St Paul, MN at Myth Live

Wednesday, 9-19-18 in Kansas City, MO at Uptown Theater

Friday, 9-21-18 in Houston, TX at HOB

Saturday, 9-22-18 in San Antonio, TX at River City Rockfest **

Sunday, 9-23-18 in Dallas, TX at Gas Monkey Live

Tuesday, 9-25-18 in Orlando, FL at House of Blues

Thursday, 9-27-18 in Norfolk, VA at The NorVa

Friday, 9-28-18 in Raleigh, NC at The Ritz

Saturday, 9-29-18 in Atlanta, GA at The Masquerade *

Sunday, 9-30-18 in Louisville, KY at Louder Than Life **

Tuesday, 10-02-18 in Denver, CO at Ogden Theater

Wednesday, 10-03-18 in SLC, UT at The Depot

Friday, 10-05-18 in Boise, ID at Knitting Factory

Saturday, 10-06-18 in Spokane, WA at Knitting Factory

Sunday, 10-07-18 in Seattle, WA at Show SODO

Monday, 10-08-18 in Vancouver, BC at Commodore Ballroom

Tuesday, 10-09-18 in Portland, OR at Roseland Theater

Thursday, 10-11-18 in San Francisco, CA at The Regency Ballroom

Friday, 10-12-18 in Los Angeles, CA at El Rey Theater

Saturday, 10-13-18 in San Bernadino, CA at Glen Helen Amphitheater (w/System Of a Down, Incubus) ***

Sunday, 10-14-18 in San Diego, CA at North Park/Observatory

Monday, 10-15-18 in Tempe, AZ at The Marquee

Wednesday, 10-17-18 in Tulsa, OK at Cain’s Ballroom

Thursday, 10-18-18 in Sauget, IL at Pop’s Nightclub

Friday, 10-19-18 in Grand Rapids, MI at 20 Monroe Live

Saturday, 10-20-18 in Detroit, MI at The Filmore Detroit

Sunday, 10-21-18 in Pittsburgh, PA at Stage AE

Tuesday, 10-23-18 in Toronto, ON at Rebel

Thursday, 10-25-18 in Worcester, MA at The Palladium

Friday, 10-26-18 in New York, NY at Irving Plaza

Saturday, 10-27-18 in New York, NY at Irving Plaza

Sunday, 10-28-18 in Philadelphia, PA at Electric Factory

* = no Sevendust

** = festival date / Clutch and festival bill only

*** = date w/ System of a Down / no Sevendust

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Cherri Bird

Independent and selective rock journalist & wordsmith, focused on strengthening the connections between a fan and the bands they follow through the words she writes. Specializing in interviews, music & show reviews, and candid photography; Cherri takes what she discovers and pounds the social media pavement to fuse the energy that music brings us with the bands that create it.

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