Clutch

Jam Room

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Sounding loose and more lively than their earlier major-label releases, Jam Room is Clutch at their down-home finest. Rarely will a band's sixth full-length disc manage to be this fresh and confident. From the opening moments of Jam Room's first crushing track, "Who Wants to Rock," these Maryland rockers send a clear message that the business at hand is getting down and having fun. There are a few dark exceptions to the good-time groove-mongering. Most notable among them is the alcoholic melodrama "Basket of Eggs" and the instrumental slugfest "Swamp Boot Upside Down." These moodier tracks generously allow listeners to catch some breath before getting slapped around by Clutch's open hand of stoner-influenced Southern rock. There's even a listenable drum solo leading into the bluesy romp "One Eye Dollar," which in itself is an accomplishment. Perhaps the greatest testimony to Clutch's commitment to wide open rock is that despite their straight-ahead, heavy-as-a-monster-truck leanings, the band is extremely hard to categorize. This is no small feat as there might be as many finely nuanced divisions of '90s alternative hard rock as there are practitioners. If fellow riff-centric Southerners Corrosion of Conformity joined forces with Ween, maybe then Clutch would have a single contemporary. Liberating and just plain fun, Jam Room neatly records Clutch's disdain for fashion and renegade spirit.

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