The Hang of Music: 12 Oz Review

I’m not going to open this review with any bad puns. None at all. Besides, I’m clutching at straws to think what kinds of horrible joke I might make.

Anyway, after a monumental album such as The Wall, I have to follow up with a band that everyone knows and loves, right? That’s the only plan that makes sense, right? Nope, I’m gonna go with “Transnational Speedway League”, the oddly titled debut album of a band called Clutch, that a good friend of mine (you know who you are!) recommended to me. Screw you, good sense!

Now, in terms of the heftiness of this album, I have to say – this is heavy. I mean Heavy. It feels like it sits on your shoulders and stays there. At points it nearly feels sludge-y enough to merge quite nicely with the Melvins. And while we’re making comparisons between bands, at some points the singing sounds like Motörhead, at others like Slayer. Make up your mind, Neil!

A lot of the tracks seem to repeat the same riffs rather a lot. Sometimes this is irritating. Sometimes it isn’t, such as in the case of 12 Ounce Epilogue, which has a great rhythm, and sounded like it was being sung by someone from Invader Zim. Considering that the lyrics are from the perspecitve of someone who’s thouroughly enjoying the end of the world, and reckons that corporate america rules, well, that makes sense.

The problem is, I’ve listened to far too much Psychostick to be able to take anything this serious seriously. Some of the lyrics, such as those above, sound absolutely hilarious out of context, and for my personal favourites, “Hey there fella” on “Binge and Purge” just made me laugh.

And other lyrics are just oddly reminiscent of other songs. Sure, this sounds good;

If you provide the spleen
Then I’ll provide the ideal
If I provide a puppet
Will you provide the strings?


… But doesn’t that sound oddly familiar? (Side note – do any of you know what the hell a baccanal has to do with anything?)

If you go back a bit, I think you can hear a major key somewhere in that song. And even if you can, that must be about it. I reckon Clutch must have been having a darkness contest with some other band when they wrote this album. I hope they won, too, because I found that the tone of the album a bit oppressive. I’d hate to imagine a band out there that sounds “darker” than this. Excluding NIN, of course…

I suppose this is the point at which I produce a summary of my opinions of the album, and that makes this the point at which I say that I found this a little disappointing. There’s some interesting stuff in there, but overall, I’d have to say the album itself is a bit rough and oppressive. Darn.


I may have given this album a bad review, but all is not lost for Clutch. There is a problem with the medium of reviewing bands albums, starting with their first: sometimes, a band’s first album doesn’t represent their greater body of work – I’m looking at you, A.S.A Crew. This album was released nearly 20 years ago now, and there’s been another 7 albums since then, and judging by their more recent singles, they’ve really got into fifth gear since then.

Epilogue 2:

Or maybe I just don’t want to sound harsh. Whichever.


Posted on July 28, 2011, in Music, The Hang of Music and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I agree 100% with this review, even though they’re one of my favorite bands. Transitional Speedway league isn’t very good. Try some of their later stuff like Robot Hive/Exodus and Blast Tyrant. They went a bit more bluesy with their last two albums, but they’re good too.

  1. Pingback: The Hang of Music: Three Times Over Clutch In August | A Hatful Of Napalm

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