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I’m late on this one. In fact, I think it’s the first time in several album cycles that there’s been a new CLUTCH record out that I haven’t been able to get reviewed in time for release day. The reason? I’m The Rock Father now – a work-at-home Dad with two little ones running around. I’m an unapologetic CLUTCH fan, dating back to the days of the TRANSNATIONAL SPEEDWAY LEAGUE – a record that’s 20 years old as of this year. As a guy that’s literally worn out a few CLUTCH shirts (my favorite was the one with dual SGs on the sleeves – complete with flames) and hats over the course of two decades, I don’t think the Maryland purveyors of fine rock can do much wrong. That said, I do have a problem with EARTH ROCKER, their 10th studio album…

Earth RockerI can’t think “Earth Rocker” without thinking NIGHT ROCKER, the 1985 solo album from then-KNIGHT RIDER star DAVID HASSELHOFF. Anyone that reads this site knows what a KNIGHT RIDER fan I am… and what a CLUTCH fan I am. Maybe that explains why I hear the words “Earth Rocker” transposed to the tune of the “Night Rocker” title track. It’s disturbing, and that’s my problem.

Aside from the mental cross-pollination of titles and fandoms, EARTH ROCKER is everything you want in a CLUTCH record. The power of the rock is mighty – it’s thunderous overtones pulverising eardrums with an underlying groove driven by influences of funk and blues.

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There’s a ferocity to EARTH ROCKER that feels a little more urgent than some of the recent CLUTCH releases, but it’s already been nearly four years since STRANGE COUSINS FROM THE WEST hit the streets. The harmonica lead on “D.C. Sound Attack” strikes me in a place where Chicago-raised fans of The Blues Brothers can identify. It sounds natural. “Mr. Freedom” sounds like the soundtrack to the bar fight in my mind. The rest of the album just sounds good… as it should.

EARTH ROCKER is out now on Weathermaker Music. Get it on iTunes:

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The Rock Father Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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