Surely, needing little or no introduction at this point – CLUTCH have returned into the fray with “PSYCHIC WARFARE”, their 11th studio album and what seems like only 5 minutes ago since they released “EARTH ROCKER”.
Long time fans of the band will have seen something of a style metamorphosis over the years – it hasn’t been a radical one, their brand of southern-blues inspired rock and roll has very much been their trademark from day one, but from the humble beginnings of a more shouty-garage-rock outfit to a now, far more refined product indeed.
CLUTCH’s finest selling point has always been the ultra-satisfying 3 minute blasts of pure rock fury (ahem!) that they’ve always seemed to be able to output with apparent ease. Riffs, choruses and grooves so catchy, you’ll have real trouble dislodging the buggers once they get a hold, and here on “PSYCHIC WARFARE”, it doesn’t take long at all to grab you.
Here was have a solid 40 minutes that simply just fly by, each song never outstaying its welcome and always leaving you wanting more – hitting the repeat button this one is a dead cert. Opening with a very short spoken word piece and then heading into “X-Ray Visions” – lead single and video – it storms through in what can ONLY be described as genuine CLUTCH magic – Neil Fallon’s voice forceful and rhythmic, brandishing those intelligent / smirk-worthy lyrics and bellows with intent and delivered in his inimitable way.
Tim Sult (guitars), Dan Maines (bass) and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) are of course not to be left behind, part of the magic that CLUTCH provides is all down to how this band gel together – the deceptively simplistic melodies and drumming are what make the songs here on “PSYCHIC WARFARE” so special – stripped back and allowed to roam free, these songs have got “jamming-session” written all over them and you can hear the honed craftsmanship from start to finish.
The pace and momentum is carried on through the first half of the 11 songs on offer – “Firebirds”, “A Quick Death in Texas” and the sublime “I’m a Sucker For a Witch” will see you head-nodding-and-a foot-tappin’ involuntarily.. and with a smile!
Its when we get to “Our Lady of Electric Light” that the more measured and sombre side of CLUTCH emerges, giving you a moment of reflection and respite – it’s a brooding number that builds in tension. The tension breaks of course in the next track “Noble Savage”, as “normal” service is resumed and we return to another slice of refined rock and roll.
Having gone a touch off the boil with their “From Beale Street To Oblivion” (2007) & “Strange Cousins From The West” (2009) releases, it took a little bit of convincing this writer to enjoy 2013’s “Earth Rocker”, but “PSYCHIC WARFARE” needed no such arm-twisting – it’s immediately accessible, immediately enjoyable and wonderfully CLUTCH.