Album Review: Clutch – ‘Book of Bad Decisions’

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BY JAMES SIMONS, Go Venue Magazine

Clutch’s new release “Book of Bad Decisions” is their 12th full album for the band. It is a solid full-tilt Clutch album. By that I mean, it has what you want and need from the song writing and is a new take on what has made Clutch “Clutch”. The rhythm section is tighter than most in current music today. When I say “tight”, I mean “James Brown” tight. This is an amazing thing to listen to. Jean Paul Gaster’s drumming and Dan Maines bass are the fantastic foundation that Tim Sult’s guitar work, and Neil Fallon’s vocals, can take root into and flourish upon.

In Walks Barbarella – The bass line is a fantastically funky fuzz-driven ride through horn laden riffage. Sweet Bearded Baby Jesus!!* It’s a Clutch song that instantly becomes the soundtrack to you gettin’ down while wearing your best patent leather platforms in your Plum Crazy 1971 Dodge Dart Swinger. A true “weaponized funk”.


Official Album Cover

Emily Dickinson, Hot Bottom Feeder – The lyrics are what makes Clutch different than other bands. Very few bands are able to write lyrics that are entertaining and deeply engaging about diverse subjects as a dead 18th century poet and a regional crab cake recipe. I found myself playing Emily Dickinson over and over again. Hearing more and more depth to it each subsequent time.

Paper & Strife – A “Clutch formula” song that you can’t seem to stop listening to. You’ve heard all of this before, from various bands, but this is new, different and compelling. It’s the sonic equivalent to your favorite beer.

Lorelei – This track stands out with it’s melancholy vocals, phaser driven arpeggiated guitar progression and the military snare work with the accentuating bass notes that sustain into the fuzz-powered riff.

This album is like being reminded why you’ve loved this band for the last quarter century of your life.. The more you listen, the more you hear what is hiding within.. An expanding sound scape that unfolds itself before you in a completely kaleidoscopic way.

What a profoundly fantastic album.. You’re going to find yourself playing over and over, in quick succession without tiring of it.

Book of Bad Decisions” track listing:

  1. Gimme the Keys
  2. Spirit of ’76
  3. Book of Bad Decisions
  4. In Walks Barbarella
  5. How to Shake Hands
  6. Vision Quest
  7. Weird Times
  8. Emily Dickinson
  9. A Good Fire
  10. Ghoul Wrangler
  11. Sonic Counselor
  12. HB Is in Control
  13. Hot Bottom Feeder
  14. Paper & Strife
  15. Lorelei

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