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4.38 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2009

Filed under Stoner Rock


1. Motherless Child (4:15)
2. Struck Down (4:22)
3. 50,000 Unstoppable Watts (3:47)
4. Abraham Lincoln (5:58)
5. Minotaur (4:51)
6. The Amazing Kreskin (4:36)
7. Witchdoctor (4:10)
8. Let a Poor Man Be (5:30)
9. Freakonomics (3:21)
10. Algo Ha Cambiado (4:08)
11. Sleestak Lightning (3:46)

Total Time: 48:50


- Tim Sult / Guitar
- Jean-Paul Gaster / Drums and Percussion
- Dan Maines / Bass
- Neil Fallon / Guitar and Vocals

About this release

Weathermaker Music, 14th of July 2009

Recorded March - April 2009

Producer J. Robbins

Thanks to UMUR for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Strange Cousins from the West" is the 9th full-length studio album by US hard rock act Clutch. The album was released through Weathermaker Music in July 2009. Since "From Beale Street to Oblivion (2007)", Mick Schauer (Hammond Organ, Hohner Clavinet and Wurlitzer Electric Piano) has left the band and as a result Clutch are down to the original four-piece again...

...Mick Schauer´s departure also means a slight change in sound as the use of keyboards/organs is very sparse on "Strange Cousins from the West" compared to their omnipresence on "Robot Hive/Exodus (2005)" and "From Beale Street to Oblivion (2007)". "Strange Cousins from the West" generally features a more stripped down and raw sound with bass, guitar, drums, and vocals as the main ingredients. While both predecessors are charming and warm bluesy hard rock albums, I enjoy that the band have produced a more raw album this time around. The more raw sound production further enhances that experience. It´s in the detail department though as Clutch still sound unmistakably like Clutch. Hard rocking bluesy riffing, a strong rhythm section and Neil Fallon´s strong deep vocals in front.

"Strange Cousins from the West" features some absolutely killer tracks like the opening trio of songs: "Motherless Child", "Struck Down", and "50,000 Unstoppable Watts", and of course THE highlight of the album "Minotaur". The latter is one of the darkest and heaviest tracks yet written by Clutch. Unfortunately like on most Clutch releases the album settles a bit towards the end with some more standard quality tracks. There´s nothing bad about those tracks, but they are not of the high standard of the best tracks on the album. a couple of tracks into "Strange Cousins from the West" I´m ready to give this album a full 4 star (80%) rating, but towards the end it´s a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating. A great album that could have been even greater had all tracks stood out like the best tracks do.
Clutch’s ninth studio album Strange Cousins From The West is a brilliant release from a consistent and hardworking band who know exactly what they and their fans want, and deliver it well every time with a few new twists to stop it becoming stale.

Strange Cousins From The West opens up with an incredible triple strike of bouncy, catchy rock numbers before slowing down and trying new things. `Abraham Lincoln’ is something of a new territory for the band, a lumbering song full of constant snare drums that perfectly evokes the time period in which the lyrics are set.

The album is absolutely full of creative and fun music, from the twangy opener `Motherless Child,’ to the rocking closer `Sleestak Lightning,’ which is a fantastic new take on their Jam Room track `I Send Pictures.’

Highlights for me include the almost-title-track `Minotaur,’ which sounds like no Clutch track that has come before it and `Freakonomics,’ which almost has the same sort rallying power as the band’s fan favorite `The Mob Goes Wild.’

As always, the lyrics and vocal performance from Clutch’s incomparable front man Neil Falon are phenomenal, taking you down bizarre trains of logic, making poetic statements that genuinely impress you and full of absolutely unique similes. The man has mastered the art of story telling through music in a way few could ever hope to match.

Some Clutch fans don’t like the band after they started modernizing and some don’t like the band after they brought in the blues influences, but if this is the case I’d urge you to give the album a fair few listens and allow it to grow on you. Even if you would prefer a different musical direction, there is no real arguing with J.P’s astounding drumming or Tim Sult’s subtle and precision riffing. Strange Cousin’s is a brilliant quality release for fans, even the production and packaging are amazing, a brilliant warm sound and a creative and interesting jigsaw style box with evocative and interesting imagery.

Overall; the band are all phenomenal musicians, with an utterly unique feel and brilliant chemistry. Strange Cousins From The West harnesses that chemistry really well and is a very strong release from the band, I would even go so far as to say it rates among my personal top three Clutch studio albums.

Ps. Be sure to use your cd on a computer to download the free bonus track `Metro Liner Special,’ which fits perfectly with the rest of the album.

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