Review: Clutch – Jam Room

Location: Frederick, Maryland
Released: October 1, 1999
Genre: Stoner Rock
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: National Uprising – Diving For Treasure

Clutch has a wide following in North America; their most recent effort, the stellar Earth Rocker, charted at #15 in the United States Billboard charts. Jam Room is their fourth release, and while it isn’t their best by a long shot, it shows a band that clearly doesn’t take themselves too seriously and therefore makes it a fun listen on a first impression.

Musically speaking, Jam Room is fairly standard stoner/groove rock with some added elements such as the occasional harmonica. Listening to the lyrics from “Big Fat Pig,” copied from DarkLyrics, one of the better songs here, will tell you just how “stoned” the music is:

At That Very Moment Mr. Softee Rings His Bells,
Ding-A-Ling Ding-A-Ling.
Quickly Thereafter, Choco-Taco Delight
While Reclining On His Brand New Mountain Bike.
Now Watch You Most Closely, For Here The Plot Does Twist.
Enter Simon, The Super Scientologist.

“I’m Opining Sailing Simon. Is You Stupid Or Is You Just High?
Mother Hubbard Got Me Covered Like Sarah Lee On Her Cherry Pie.”
Norman Says To Simon, “Hey, If There Are Really Aliens,
I Would Think That L. Ron Hubbard Would Have To Be One Of Them.”

Interesting, to say the least, and the lyrics only get crazier from there. The best aspect of this album is how well it flows from song to song; despite the different styles on display.

“Who Wants To Rock” is a short number with a ton of guitar distortion. “Big Fat Pig’s” highlight is a long instrumental groove that continues into “Going To Market,” which is essentially a fun two-minute jam session with a drum solo. “One Eye Dollar,” as well as “Sink ‘Em Low,” both sound very similar to Orange Goblin tracks.

The winner for best song goes to “Release The Kraken,” a downtempo number that features a number of percussion instruments, an organ playing over a reading from Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and an absolutely crunchy guitar riff. That kind of song name would allude to something that could’ve made the cut on Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Labyrinth, but it’s an excellent song as is. “Raised By Horses” is also a fun track, and “Gnome Enthusiast features some high-pitched vocals that bring a unique sound to the stoner rock genre. “Swamp Boot Upside Down” and “Basket Of Eggs” are both slow songs that flow well with each other, with the former being an instrumental.

As for the weirdest moment, that goes to the 26-second “Bertha’s Big Back Yard,” which sounds it like it was recorded over a CV radio and makes absolutely no sense. “The Drifter” and “I Send Pictures” both contain low-pitched monotonous vocals and are rather boring, and “Release The Dub” is full of brake drums and ambient noise.

Overall: Low replay value, with only “Big Fat Pig/Going To Market” and “Release The Kraken” being worthy of multiple spins. 

Rating: 2.5*

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