Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Clutch - 'Psychic Warfare' (Album Review)

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 02/10/2015
Label: Weathermaker Music


It’s the precise interplay in each of these songs that make “Psychic Warfare” – dare I say it – a competitor for album of the year. Be it the way Maines bridges Gasters swing with Sult’s stiff blues in “Quick Death in Texas,” or how the chorus in “Firebirds” only works because of the foundation provided by the verses, “Psychic Warfare” is a mature, well-written album.

‘Psychic Warfare’ CD//DD// track listing

1). The Affidavit
2). X-Ray Visions
3). Firebirds
4). A Quick Death In Texas
5). Sucker For The Witch
6). Your Love Is Incarceration
7). Doom Saloon
8). Our Lady Of Electric Light
9). Noble Savage Clutch
10). Behold The Colossus
11). Decapitation Blues
12). Son Of Virginia

Clutch is:

Neil Fallon | Vocals
Jean-Paul Gaster | Drums
Dan Maines | Bass
Tim Sult | Guitar

The Review:

There was a time when I thought Clutch’sBlast Tyrant” was the best rock album around. I had a pot-smoking Canadian house mate at the time which made “Mob Goes Wild” that much more fun and we jammed that album day in, day out. It was unthinkable that Clutch’s other albums could be that good, so in fear of being disappointed by the band, it took a long time before I started checking out their other stuff. Eventually, “Robot Hive”’s artwork drew me in, followed by “Pure Rock Fury,” and because I was living in Memphis when “From Beale Street to Oblivion” came out, it became one of my favourites despite it’s lacklustre production. The 90’s Clutch followed quickly and now they’re the only band of which I own their entire discography, “Psychic Warfare” included. So that means there are two things certain in this world; one, Clutch rocks, and two, any and all of their albums – “Psychic Warfare” included – are exhibitions of rock n’ roll mastery.

X-Ray Visions” hit the internet a month prior to the album’s release, ticking all the boxes of what a lead-off single should do. It displayed a band who was influenced by their past but taking steps towards another world tour. They were keeping things interesting for themselves that was obvious, which was what got me excited. Eventually, “Noble Savage” popped up and seemed to be an answer to Earth Rocker’s title track. Upon more listens, however, it became apparent that this wasn’t so much an answer as it was a proclamation that Fallon, like any good preacher, just ain’t done preachin’, and preach he does! The delivery in “Quick Death in Texas,” for example, pulls the congregation in to pray for courage, love, and divine protection, before tacking on a bridge that gets those who are still seated, to their feet. “Sucker for the Witch” has a similar effect, but it’s “Your Love is Incarceration” that will stand as the album’s highlight. Here, Maines draws most of the attention with some very funky bass work, to which Sult and Gaster respond with some classic Clutch wah and that go-go beat. These three form a pulpit of music from which Fallon stands behind, delivering some of his most cleverly penned lyrics to date.

It’s the precise interplay in each of these songs that make “Psychic Warfare” – dare I say it – a competitor for album of the year. Be it the way Maines bridges Gasters swing with Sult’s stiff blues in “Quick Death in Texas,” or how the chorus in “Firebirds” only works because of the foundation provided by the verses, “Psychic Warfare” is a mature, well-written album. “Behold the Colossus” is an extension of “Earth Rocker”’s second half, displaying a band that is more comfortable than ever with this new found sound, which says something considering that the songs on that album were all hits. “Son of Virginia” reminds of things like “The Regulator,” but has injected the desire for crowd participation. I could go on and mention something unique about each of “Psychic Warfare”’s twelve song track list but I don’t want to spoil all of the surprises.

What I would like to leave you with is the following. “Psychic Warfare” is four guys getting together, working in musical unison, to create an album together. You can hear that the band works as a democracy and that the ideas that have made the final cut have made it through the Clutch filter. There is not one point in which I think that this is Fallon’s band, or Sult’s, or Gaster’s, or Maines’, each track is very much their band, and it’s a band that few others can live up to but many can learn from. 


‘Psychic Warfare’ is available everywhere now


Band info: Official | Facebook


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