Crucial Velocity

Okay this is cheating I know that 1537 is supposed to be a bit of a retrospective gig but I am too excited about this LP to wait until 2017 to write about it.  Clutch Earth Rocker is one righteously mighty LP, or should that be a righteous mighty LP.  It’s a newie, I only got this on 30 March.

Despite paddling about in the stoner rock pond for a long time now, I’d never really properly come across Clutch before, other than the fact that most of my favourite bands seemed to be playing with them at one point or another.  It wasn’t until I read a really interesting interview with them recently that it clicked that here were a band I might like*, after living with this LP for a month now, I am bracing myself for a Clutch obsession.  I can’t glibly tell you if Earth Rocker is better than the last one, or the classic one before that, or whether it represents a return to their roots or a bold new direction – if you know more than me just read along and delete as applicable (preferably with a wipe-clean marker).


Earth Rocker, umm, rocks the Earth right from the first second the needle hits the groove.  Their sound is all their own, I can hear flecks of (my beloved) Monster Magnet, Killing Joke, Soundgarden and even Kyuss in there, but Clutch rock harder than any of them with a hard-tooled sound that’s definitely informed by hardcore’s discipline and commitment, but not its limitations. This music is just sung and played with a total conviction that makes every pronouncement resonate with righteous indignation.

The opener and title track, always a good sign in my book, is literally a manifesto and statement of intent (see below for the lyrics), to paraphrase someone, they mean it maaaan.  Clutch have come to earth to kick our asses so hard they’ll stay kicked for ever.  As soon as I heard the opening lines of ‘Crucial Velocity’ I knew I’d found the band I’d waited 41 years for so far, escaping ‘peace keeping agents from several futures’ in their Rocket 88, the whole song an ode to speed – in whatever sense you want to take that.  It also really struck me just how uncannily like Dave Wyndorf, Neil Fallon sings sometimes which is great because Monster Magnet were my favourite band for years, I loved their Jack Kirby inspired insanity until Wyndorf seemed to flame on one too many times and came back a shadow.  Neil Fallon’s voice, on this showing at least, has more bass and heft to its’ bellow, he just sounds ferocious.

The first side of Earth Rocker is amazing.  Every track is nigh on perfect, the harmonica on ‘D.C Sound Attack’ (chorus –  ‘I’m a warmonger baby, gonna industrialize ya’) just works perfectly for example and the lyrics (always an important one to me) are just brilliant throughout; if you can’t dig the images spat out all over the ferocious ‘Once More Unto the Breech’ then you shouldn’t be here, ‘Like the Gutenberg Bible, we’re the moveable type’ (incidentally, this track hits the rock button the hardest on the whole LP).  Just as you start to need a change of pace the acoustic ‘Gone Cold’ rattles and hacks into view, its tale of a fractured mind simultaneously chilling and groovy.


So is this one of those one-sided wonder LPs? I hear you ask.  Eat my halberd, non-believer !! I hear myself reply.  ‘The Face’ and its’ vision of scary conformists taking our rock and roll from us, sort of Temples of Syrinx style, is wonderfully loud and it’s tale of the primordial forces of rock (a more literate sci-fi take on ‘Let There Be Rock’) is just awe-inspiring,

One thousand Les Pauls burning in a field
What rabid religion poisons their minds?
One thousand Jazz Masters thrown into the sea
What measure of madness governs their time?

Don’t worry, guitar worshippers, it all ends happily; Spoiler Alert! (sorry, I think that should have come first).  I won’t overstay my welcome, but every track on the second side kicks on from there, including the blistering ‘Cyborg Bette’ (what a title!) and the slower ‘Oh Isabella’.

I know I’ve only had this for a month now but I’ve played it a lot.  I have not heard a rock LP this complete sounding in years.  I have not stumbled across a band this good in years.  I have not heard a rock LP this inventive in years.  I have not bought an LP with artwork this good in years.  I have not fallen for a band so hard in years.

In some kind of grand arty statement I may choose to play this LP 1537 times and then burn it during some kind of transcendent esoteric ritual, or I might not, just like the Gutenberg Bible I’m the moveable type.

149 Down.

The video below is crucial if you want to learn Neil Fallon’s new stance on Brussels sprouts, and I think you do.

*also I’m very keen on bands who are a lot less glamorous looking than I am.

Earth Rocker: 

What’s this about limits?
Sorry, I don’t know none.
What’s this about some DB limit?
Sorry, I can’t hear none.

You can take a little cruise down the river of booze,
Act all poor and defeated.
Shout to the mountain some boo-hoo blues,
But I’ll stand here and repeat it:

I’m an earth rocker!
Everybody hear me now.
I’m an earth rocker!
Everybody get the message?

If you’re gonna do it,
Do it live on stage, or don’t do it at all.
If you’re gonna do it,
You better take it to the stage, or don’t do it at all.

I will suffer no evil.
My guitar will guide me through.
I will suffer no evil,
And this time, I want to hear it from you.

I’m an earth rocker!
Everybody hear me now.
I’m an earth rocker!
Everybody get the message?

Break it down,
To brass tacks.
Break it down,
To just the facts.

I don’t need your sticky laminate,
I don’t need your VIP.
I don’t need your validation,
‘Cause I wear mine on my sleeve.

So don’t look to me for answers,
‘Cause I don’t got-a-one.
I just came to have a good time.
And I’m gonna have one.

Yes, I’ve lost many battles,
And even more days.
But if I had to do it over,
I’d do it just the same.

‘Cause I’m an earth rocker!
Everybody hear me now.
I’m an earth rocker!
Everybody get the message?

I’m an earth rocker!
I’m an earth rocker!
Everybody get the message?

7 thoughts on “Crucial Velocity

    1. Yes! I knew if I set up a record blog as a front for my vegetable chat fetish, that one day all my plans would come to, umm, fruition!

      Great great LP this.

  1. Once again, you’ve added something to my gotta have list. If this continues, I’ll spend all my music budget acquiring the best-of-1537 which, really, is not such a bad thing. I’ll call myself ‘Diet 1537’ or ‘New 1537’ or ‘768.5, only the the good stuff’.

    In the video, I love how the interviewed band member talks with the young interviewer and not down to her. That makes me like them already.

    1. Thank you David – 1537-Clear, maybe? Everyone of true mettle should own this LP, I am well and truly smitten. I daren’t burn a copy of this for the car!

      I couldn’t agree more, Neil Fallon just plays the interview beautifully, not patronising her for a second. He become my favourite bearded person today – knocking Santa off the top spot and dropping Che Guevara down to third. And I got tickets to see Clutch in July. I’m happy today.

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