Clutch deals in hard, bottom-heavy rock. That alone might turn somepeople off, but anyone who looks deeper into Jam Room, the 2004release by the ’90s rock veterans, will be rewarded with acornucopia of guitar and drum solos layered over a solid and deepbass groove. Over the top comes a layer of southern-fried growlalternating with wailing falsetto as perfected on track seven,”Gnome Enthusiast.” This album makes no pretense about itsintentions, opening up with the wah-drenched Sabbath boogie of theaptly named “Who Wants To Rock.” On the whole, it’s a prettysatisfying 48 minutes, despite the occasional, tedious, overlyjocular song. Clutch obviously enjoys making rock records.
Forget What You Know
Prickly guitars and anthem-inspiring choruses populate Midtown’slatest long player, propping up vaguely sappy yet still interestingand philosophically charged songs of, you guessed it, heartbreak,but also a healthy dose of genuine, intellectualized soul searchingthat will appeal to lonely people who think too much. And I’ll bedamned if, discreetly hidden in “Is It Me? Is It True?” therearen’t a few flexing guitar solos that actually shred before thehooky pop chord progressions reemerge to dominance. As far aspop-punk goes, this is about as good as it gets. I’d much rather mykid listen to this than Dashboard Confessional or Jimmy Eat World.At least Midtown can write a decent pop song.
The Rebirth of Tragedy
Don’t get me wrong, I really like metal and heavy guitar music ingeneral. I just don’t have the patience to listen to some guyscream in the same voice for the entire course of an album. WithTwelve Tribes’ Rebirth of Tragedy, I actually feel disappointed,since they seem to be interested in experimenting with differenttimings than 4/4 and really sound pretty good whenever theirvocalist isn’t vocalizing. Songs like “Post Replica” beginpromisingly enough, too, with powerful double bass drumming andguitar that manages to sound heavy and low and also a little mathy.If they could get past the super-clich�, nu-metal scream,they might be onto something good.
This record is kind of a toss-up, with theoccasional, overdriven, raunchy slide whine and pedal-steelflourish populating vaguely blah songs that, with some exceptions,don’t really seem to have much feeling. “What The Old Man Told Me”is one such exception, and is in fact a pretty haunting piece ofcountry-blues accentuated by a little bit of fuzz strumming.”8-Ball Blues” is home to some delicate guitar picking that soundsvery nice. “Haunted House Blues” also stands out, with expressivelyrestrained slide and the slide of fingers on the strings being theonly accompaniment to Hudson’s annoyingly well-adjusted voice.”Jellyroll” is probably the album’s best track, mixing slide anddistorted electric guitars with harmonica, and it seems that thisrock-ish territory is where Hudson has the most luck. Other songsdon’t do as well, with some like “Some Things Never Change”flat-out sucking. On the whole, “Cool Breeze” displays talent andpromise, but is also somewhat bogged down by a lack of power andboring lyrics.