Clutch

Clutch

The Elephant Riders

Atlantic

Here come the fuzz-guitars on this rough diamond of a CD release. When I first listened to The Elephant Riders I thought, “Wait a second, this is causing some ‘boogie’.” Yes kids, that’s “boogie,” and the term is retrograde, but that’s the beauty of this puppy from Maryland-based Clutch. Boogie as in a style of that proverbial “rock and roll” that my historically-aware, musically archival mind tells me had antecedents in the “acid rock” and/or “boogie” of the early 1970s. Not a bad thing, because it works here: this CD takes care of frickin’ business and throws out the original ideas as well!

Yes folks, I’m talking the fuzz-guitar and tons of it — clean fuzz. On digital reproduction at that, because working with the CD in my little toil-PC, I had aural visions of the gigantic and the organic while I did my first listen to The Elephant Riders. The massive wall of guitar (smooth yet crunchy!) blasting over hill and dale in some awe-struck summer morning rising. Miles of steam and the sheer sound of the place erupting in stacked guitars. This turns out to be some telling sets of ideas because, you see, apparently, the title-song is written about a somewhat mythical regiment in the northern army (as in the War Between the States) that featured soldiers on elephants. You can picture the pachyderms in place of the festival, shuffling into behemoth-action in that enormous glade somewhere in the obscure, forgotten history of the U.S.A.

What would be a loud scenario in live-action is produced as such on CD: it seems loud at low volume. The Elephant Riders is over-the-top yet honest in focus, the lyrics are obscure in places, but well-written and somewhat literate, and the guitars are one hell of a guilty pleasure for the heavy rock aficionado. Turn the speakers out the window and crank it to 10, man!

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