Skip to content

Clutch – From Beale Street to Oblivion

If you “consume” music, Clutch probably doesn’t make your collection cut. You’ve likely opted to fill your CD shelves (that’s Aramaic for iTunes library, kids) with Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and other classics who did it first and better. But if music is your baby, then Clutch is the pregnant woman’s peanut butter and pickle sandwich.

An acquired taste, to be sure, Clutch likes it dirty. Picture Zakk Wylde in your kitchen smoking a cigarette in his tattered tighty-whities while cooking up a skillet of corned beef hash, and you begin to understand what Clutch looks, smells and sounds like.


Understanding the appeal of such an act probably isn’t a huge stretch, given the resurgence of stoner rock outfits (Queens Of The Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal) and the Bam Margera fan boys who follow them. And in an age where everything and everyone is so damn pretty (even the punks), the argument in favor of Clutch is any easy one to win.

Those not among the Clutch converted will find that something funny happens on your way to a second or third helping of the band’s latest release, From Beale Street To Oblivion. Namely, the sludge guitars, Deep Purple organ play, and foot-stomping and head-bobbing beats begin to stick with you, like a plate full of IHOP biscuits and gravy — thick and heavy, but damn good.

Longtime fans have noted Clutch’s tendency to continually push its music into new worlds, but the band has managed to successfully navigate this evolution without alienating any of its support base. In the case of Beale Street, Clutch continues to tinker with its southern rock fetish while also incorporating a greater amount of blues.

Perhaps what keeps fans coming back (and the occasional new fan coming in) is the integrity with which Clutch carries itself. Moving from the dirty-water blues and roadhouse jams of “Electric Worry” and “One Eye Dollar” is an easy task when you have like-minded rockers “You Can’t Stop Progress” and “Mr. Shiny Cadillackness” opening and closing the album respectively. In a sense, the opposite of Stone Temple Pilots suddenly deciding that it’s Redd Kross.


Sign up to our newsletter and get updates to your mailbox