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From Beale Street to Oblivion
Label: Issachar Entertainment
Length: 12 tracks / 48:20 min
Listen to “Electric Worry” here: http://www.lambgoat.com/audio/clutch/
How many-cools of Addom?Yes, these are lyrics from the best song of 2007 so far. Looks like gibberish, but if you look a bit further, you can see they come from a 1980 science fiction novel called “Riddley Walker.” And the song is “The Rapture of Riddley Walker” off of From Beale Street to Oblivion by Clutch, a band who has released several albums, but amazingly this is the first one I’ve heard. Now run, don’t walk, to your nearest record store and buy this album, then come back and read the rest of the review.
From Beale Street to Oblivion is a solid 48 minutes of intense blues-rock with thick Tom Morello-style (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) riffs, gravelly, high-testosterone vocals, and gospel drums and organ crescendos.
The band itself looks intimidating, which only adds to the ambiance. Vocalist Neil Fallon, with his thick beard, comes across like a slimmed-down Hacksaw Jim Duggan high on PCP. You don’t want to get in a bar fight with these guys. And that’s probably where you would find them. As they sing on “Power Player”:
I’m not giving you attitude.The album’s first single is “Electric Worry,” which begins with slow, depressing “lonely frog” music and vocals before building into a hard-rockin’ ZZ Top-style riff and the energetic yet simple chorus: “Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Vaminos! Vaminos!”
The lyrical themes of the album are typical blues, but with brilliantly enigmatic execution. Spiritual references are prevalent, but it’s never quite clear what they are saying.
A full six songs, including “You Can’t Stop Progress,” “Power Player,” and “The Rapture of Riddley Walker” qualify as hits. The best typically follow the formula of blues verses with repetitive bridges, monster-riff choruses, and the vocals alternating between gospel preaching (for lack of a better description) and a Stevie Ray Vaughan impersonator.