Clutch need no introduction. The Maryland four-piece formed in 1991 and have stayed consistent throughout the years. Book of Bad Decisions is their 12th studio album and their first since 2015’s Psychic Warfare (read our review here).
Book of Bad Decisions is out now via the band’s own label, Weathermaker.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, this isn’t an album that sees the energetic rock band changing the formula in any particular way. Clutch know what they do well so continue to do it to mostly good results here. All the expected oddities, stoner riffing, bluesy bass hooks and punchy choruses are here and present. It just seems…less interesting. The lack of energy in the first few tracks doesn’t help matters.
Leaning heavily towards a slower bluesy rock sound, it’s not until How to Shake Hands that a fire is lit under the band. The increase in tempo makes this a memorable boogie-rock track with singer Neil Fallon absolutely shining on vocals (as he always does). The same can be said for the high-powered rock number, Weird Times too.
The funk comes out to play on In Walks Barbarella, a fun sci-fi trip that sees Fallon shouting “weaponised funk” as though it’s a command! It’s a definite highlight of the record.
The tweaking of their signature sound is also pretty noticeable on the psychedelic edge of Emily Dickinson and the hyper stoner-blues tune, Ghoul Wrangler. Little touches here and there that long-term Clutch fans are likely to notice.
It’s a long one. 15 tracks (nearly an hour) long but for the most part, Clutch keep your attention. A lot of this is down to the commanding performance of Fallon who continues to prove to be one of rocks most exciting and unique vocalists! Not to take anything away from the other members as they do unique things here so effortlessly that it’s almost unnoticeable. It’s just Clutch being Clutch which is hefty praise!
Clutch – Book of Bad Decisions Full Track Listing:
1. Gimme the Keys
2. Spirit of ‘76
3. Book of Bad Decisions
4. How to Shake Hands
5. In Walks Barbarella
6. Vision Quest
7. Weird Times
8. Emily Dickinson
9. Sonic Counsellor
10. A Good Fire
11. Ghoul Wrangler
12. H.B. is in Control
13. Hot Bottom Feeder
14. Paper & Strife
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Book of Bad Decisions is available via all major streaming services and shops.
Clutch - Book of Bad Decisions (Weathermaker)
The Final Score - 7.5/10