Let's be real about this: Clutch is one of the only hard rock bands in the world worth caring about. A howling, bombed out wilderness destroyed by the endless stream of cookie-cutter post-post-post-grunge bands that somehow still exist, most of the genre's talent has been siphoned off into the various indie subdivisions or receded further into the underground. However, among the likes of Coheed and Cambria, Torche, Tool,
The Mars Volta (?) and yes Clutch, there is still hope for good rock music to makes waves in the polluted oceans of popular music. And what a funky wave Earth Rocker is.
It's not often that I get to say this without any irony or sarcasm these days but, dude…this album rocks. The music plays like a wicked cocktail of blues, funk, rock, and metal with a taste only Clutch can provide. Leading the pack is singer Neil Fallon, who's unmistakable toad-rasp vocals are as essential to Clutch's sound as his out-of-this-world lyrics, like in "The Wolfman Kindly Requests…"
"You wanna know my political persuasion? Well sugar, I howl At the moon! Can you dig it?"
Yes I can dig it! And more importantly, I dig those riffs on "DC Sound Attack", "The Face", and "Book Saddle & Go". Earth Rocker is packed with an endless supply of catchy grooves and if you can't get down to them, well you must be either dead or a certified member of the anti-fun brigade. There is a self-consciously classic-rock feel to how the band structured their songwriting and melodies.
Apparently, much of the writing of Earth Rocker took place while on tour with Thin Lizzy and Motorhead and this cycle of legendary sounds clearly left a mark on the band's approach here. Flashes of 1970's Thin Lizzy fuzz and groove give Earth Rocker an almost space-rock feel, which is to say nothing of its intergalactic cover art. But other tracks have a very straight to the gut feel like the title-track's fist-pumping chorus of "I'm an Earth…ROCKER!" that Lemmy would surely approve of (I'm surprised he hasn't written a song called "Earth Rocker" yet himself). One curious but awesome highlight is the mid-album dirge, "Gone Cold", which could easily fit into a classic Western flick; in the lead up to the shootout scene, just as the two men walk through town, pistols loaded.
There are a couple songs that don't burn as hot as others, and the songs definitely get better as the tracks go from one to the next, but generally the album is a consistently rocking and rolling beast. On the journey through the world of modern hard-rock, Clutch is like the mad village storyteller. You might not get what he's trying to tell you right away, but after awhile you discover, he's the one you should have listened to all along.
Favorite Songs: "Earth Rocker", "DC Sound Attack", "Gone Cold", "The Face", "Book Saddle & Go", "Cyborg Bette", "The Wolfman Kindly Requests…"