Man, oh man, oh man do I like Clutch. Recommended by someone who’d seen ’em play at Download last year, I can imagine they’re pretty much the best band to see live: pure, aggressive, high energy rock with a huge dosage of blues.
I first heard Clutch when I listened to X-Ray Visions, which is the single of this album. With an amazing music video, it’s an absolutely fantastic song. It’s got lyrics not to be taken seriously, and clearly the band is having a lot of fun performing it. I was introduced through this song to the band’s fantastic energy and great musical ability; in the best way possible. The singer, though, is the best thing about the song. He’s got a deep, sort of soulful voice, but angry and slightly silly at the same time; which is amazing. In fact, he’s one of my favourite vocalists I’ve heard.
The next track, Firebirds!, goes by the same sort of thing. Angry, not to be taken fully seriously, amazing. Even though it’s not quite as catchy, it’s probably got more energy and the guitar work really starts to sound impressive.
Suddenly out of nowhere comes A Quick Death in Texas; which is a mouthwatering prospect because of it’s amazing name. It doesn’t disappoint. Whilst keeping the energy, it’s a slightly slower paced song, and the first on the album that properly gets out the blues. In fact, the blues explodes out with this one. With classic sounding blues guitar riffs and Neil Fallon’s (the singer) soulful voice, it sounds brilliantly bluesy. But your reminded it’s part of a hard rock album when the rolls along, which explodes out with shouted lyrics – which keep that aforementioned soulfulness – and rocking power chords. It’s different from the rest of the song, certainly, but it blends perfectly with the leg-jigging provoking rest of the song: to make a fantastic hard blues rock song.
Sucker for the Witch comes next. It keeps the energy and silly lyrics, but brings something new to the album. With a recurring clean guitar riff and walking bass, and varies in tone and pitch throughout, it’s more classic rock sounding; but even more so leg-jig provoking.
Next up, Your Love is Incarceration. Proper blues rock, this one. It tips and turns throughout the songs with different verses, bridges and with a catchy hook and a brilliant riff at the heart of it. It’s not one of the best songs on the album for me, though.
After an unrelenting few songs, comes a little break in Doom Saloon. It’s not particularly exciting, or maybe necessary, but I won’t say it shouldn’t be there. It acts as a lead in to the next song, Our Lady of Electric Light, which carries on Doom Saloon’s dark tone and tune, but with added power through the powerful bass. It doesn’t have the same energy as the songs before it, but it’s quite a catchy song and something different.
The energy’s back.
Noble Savage brings back the unrelenting feel that the first 5 tracks brought (after the intro track, The Affidavit). It’s probably the most energetic song, and one that you feel the need to drum along to, and maybe provokes some head movement. It’s a proper, genuine rock track, of 2 minutes, 49 seconds. Great track.
After that mad track, comes the brilliant Behold the Colossus. In this song, the guitar work is at its very best, played with whammy bar tilts and amazing flair, along with the powerful bass and pounding drumming which carries the song along. It doesn’t keep the same amount of catchiness (it’s a new word, idiot) on a consistent basis throughout and the melody isn’t the best in the whole album; but the chorus, brilliant liveliness and incredible guitar work bring it to being one of the better songs on the album.
Decapitation Blues is next, which carries on the sound of Behold the Colossus, but also brings back the more simple sound of X-Ray Visions and Sucker for the Witch. It’s also got a more metal-y sound, with a minor tone and more concentration on heavy guitar work. With it’s fantastic lyrics – “You’ve been kicked in the neck by a three-legged mule”, brilliant catchiness (I said it’s a new word, idiot), chorus and heaviness, it’s one of my favourites of the album.
Finally, the last song comes around in Son of Virginia. It comprises a lot of what the album does best; the power, the aggression, the energy, the lyrical work, the catchiness (IT’S A NEW WORD, MARK. … I just did a Milo, didn’t I. Great.) and the blues. It’s a fitting finale and an absolutely fantastic song, which also has a slightly more progressive tone as an epic 7 minute track.
Psychic Warfare is an album which really makes you want to play some music yourself. The band is clearly enjoying what they’re playing; in exhibiting high energy blues rock with fantastic vocals and instrumental work – especially guitar. It’s a ridiculously enjoyable listen and one that is instantly recommendable, though it doesn’t quite keep the same quality throughout. If you take anything from this review, it is the gift of the recommendation of the songs X-Ray Visions, A Quick Death in Texas and Decapitation Blues.
Do yourself a favour and give this album a listen.