Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bands I Love: Clutch

I've made no secret on The Guide that Clutch is one of my favorite (if not number one) bands out there right now, and I've already dedicated two articled to their discography (Part 1 & Part 2), so this one is going to be a little different. For this edition of 'Bands I Love' I'm going into the evolution of enjoyment that I (and I'd assume other fans) get when I re-listen to their albums; of the changing of taste and favorite songs.

For this example I'm going to spend all of my time dissecting probably one of their best albums, Blast Tyrant, released dead center with their funk-stoner phase, way back in 2004. Initially the songs that jumped out at me were: "Mercury," "Mob Goes Wild," "Cypress Grove," and "Worm Drink," each for their simple and catchy lyrics and really head-bobbing melodies. These tracks were easy to get into and at the time that I was first giving the record a spin, I was still new to the band, with only Robot Hive/Exodus under my belt. These songs were a great and simple entry into Blast Tyrant. While I enjoyed the album as a whole, these were the songs that I spent most of my time with, and these are the group that most often landed in mix CDs for friends or for my car.

Moving on from this, probably a dozen or so listens later, my tastes began to change. I began to discover the more complex songs that Clutch had to offer with "Ghost" and "The Regulator" leading the charge. I suddenly loved this songs for their slower, more diverse musical direction. This pair are slow, guitar and vocals heavy and knee-deep in story. Right up my alley. With this pair I also started getting into "Profits of Doom" and "Army of Bono," again for the strong and interesting stories, but also for the rock n' roll feel, close to the original four songs I loved. It was a baby step, with the later two mentioned being close to what drew me to Blast Tyrant, but different enough to catch my ear.

This brings us to the most recent chapter of my adoration for Blast Tyrant, my acquired taste of the rest that the disc had to offer. First it was "Spleen Merchant" then "Promoter (Of Earthbound Causes)" and "(Notes From The Trial Of) La Curandera," this group keeping me happy for quite a while. Eventually (as within the past few months) I came to really enjoy the last songs; "(In The Wake Of) The Swollen Goat" and especially "Subtle Hustle." Each of these songs are catchy in their own way, and each are pretty far gone from the others that surround them (well, they are all still within the same genre, and fit the album as a whole very well, but if you've ever listened to this album as much as I have, you'd spot the differences easily too). I spent all day today singing the chorus of "Subtle Hustle" at work today, which is what gave me the inspiration to write this article.

Clutch is amazing, and everyone should at least give them a try. Their entire career evolves with each passing disc released, and the songs within each disc seem to do the same. Their albums are not cookie-cut by any means, and while each song doesn't always strike a chord with me, I know if I give it enough time I'll find something special to love about it. Blast Tyrant and Robot Hive/Exodus definitely make up my favorite era of their releases, but they continue to release great music to this day - looking forward to the new album rumored to appear sometime at the end of the year.


Chicken Awesome said...

Clutch is one of my favorite bands of all time. I have seen every tour starting from their "Speedway" album to "Robot Hive" and every time they never did disappoint.

While the self-titled album and Elephant Riders will always hold a special place in my heart, Blast Tyrant is their masterpiece.

Long live C!

The Klepto said...

Oh I agree Clutch's earlier stuff is great. I love The Elephant Riders and their self-titled as well. Those are just of a different style of what would become Blast Tyrant and Robot Hive/Exodus, and in turn very different then what they are playing now. They have had some amazing transitions and changes over the years.