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Clutch | Book of Bad Decisions

The Maryland maniacs maintain their brilliantly demented ways on their dozenth disc.

I don’t know if Clutch have made more bad decisions than other bands. I do know there has to be some good reason why these mighty, magnificent Maryland maniacs are still one of the best bands almost nobody has heard after 25 years in the trenches. But I also know this: Neal Fallon and his crew have never made a wrong move when it comes to their music. And they sure aren’t about to start now. Though they also aren’t about to start fixin’ what ain’t broke, if you dig. So if you’re one of the few who have been paying attention, you can rest assured that their dozenth studio disc Book of Bad Decisions fits in nicely with most of their off-kilter catalogue. Which is to say: It’s the musical equivalent of drinking yourself blind on moonshine in a monster truck with the smartest, craziest sumbitch you ever met. That would be aforementioned frontman Fallon, whose barrelchested, gravel-throated Jim Dandy hollar simultaneously contrasts and complements his dementedly brilliant and disarmingly poetic tales of running for president, running for his life, loving Emily Dickinson, freaking out at Denny’s, hearing Black Sabbath for the first time and, um, making crab cakes. As always, he is aggressively aided and abetted by his bandmates’ feral fusion of fuzzbox stoner-sludge, southern-fried rock, lumpy blues, full-tilt boogie and horndog funk. The result: 56:45 of the most propulsive, explosive, destructive and just flat-out weird rock you’re likely to have jammed in your earholes — until their next album, anyway. Ignoring it? Now THAT would be a bad decision.

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