Clutch - Book of Bad Decisions

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Book of Bad Decisions begins on an ominous note as vocalist Neil Fallon sings about getting "out of Dodge" on "Gimme the Keys;" many of the other lyrics heard on the psych-tinged rocker are cryptic but clearly the situation Fallon relates on the song involved one of those bad decisions that the album title refers to. Having been very impressed with the sound that he got working with Chris Stapleton and The Dead Weather, the band turned the keys over to producer (and four time GRAMMY winner) Vance Powell this time out. Powell wanted the recording to have the same punch that Clutch has when they play live, and he even went out on the road with the band for a few days to get a real understanding of that sound. Longtime "Gearheads," as Clutch fans are known, may or may not register Powell's work, but they'll love this new album from their heroes as the title cut is a fuzzy bass and squealing guitar fiesta, "How to Shake Hands" is a frenetic stew with opinions about the American democratic process ("Put Jimi Hendrix on the $20 bill…"), and "In Walks Barbarella" is a funk-infused rocker that references the campy Jane Fonda film "Barbarella." All of these are driven by Fallon's vocals, who sometimes sounds like Jim Morrison's (or Bob Seger's) wilder cousin. Clutch's music has always conjured an urging to let go and have fun and "Weird Times" is a dance-like-no-one's-looking barn burner; "Ghoul Wrangler" is also a get-up-and-move cut that boogies along, with hints of Black Sabbath thrown in here and there. The bluesy, early ZZ Top-recalling "Hot Bottom Feeder" comes near album's end, and the slow boil of "Lorelei" wraps up the effort in the same way that it started, on a seriously ominous note.

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Release date: September 7, 2018

Clutch - Book of Bad Decisions

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