Clutch
Robot Hive/Exodus
(Universal)
In an era where bands are condemned by their genre through comparisons to other similar-sounding artists, Clutch is exempt from classification. It’s simply impossible to lump this band in with anyone else. Sure, some of its songs may prompt resemblances to The Black Crowes, Black Sabbath, Monster Magnet, Queens Of The Stone Age, Soundgarden and Supersuckers, but the fact is that the Maryland/West Virginia-based quintet simply has its own swamp water style — an alt metal/ blues/ funk/ gospel/ grunge/ soul/ math, southern and stoner rock hybrid. Experimental yet accessible, Robot Hive/Exodus is the band’s eighth full-length. The disc is riveting with its intellectual time signature shifts, smooth grooves, philosophical commentaries and humourous pop culture references. Who else could get away with name-dropping cheese such as Boston, Dokken, George Thorogood, Kansas and REO Speedwagon in a single song (“The Incomparable Mr. Flannery”) while chanting binary code in the chorus of another (“10001110101”). The harmonic ’70s jam, “Small Upsetters,” and anthemic single, “Mice and Gods,” are among the disc’s other highlights. On “10,000 Witnesses” and “Never Be Moved,” vocalist Neil Fallon preaches – but not religiously. Spirituality is a frequent topic of discussion for Clutch, but not necessarily in an accepting tone. Fallon’s role is not to sermonize, but rather to question the norm in intellectual terms, while set to ridiculously infectious music.
—Jon Bruhm

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