Weathermaker Vault series Vol 1 by ClutchRelease date: November 27, 2020
Label: Weathermaker Music
If normal services were still the order of the day then Clutch would most probably would have been on a European tour around this time of year. They may have had a new album of new material to promote as well. Instead, to keep the band fresh in our minds they have been releasing a few songs over the course of the last year, which are now collected together on Weathermaker Vault Series Vol 1. They’re made up of a mix of re-recorded fan favourites and covers of songs by a few bands that inspire these Maryland rockers.
It could so have easily have been a mixed bag of stuff, filled with fillers, stuff only completists would want to mull over. In lesser capable hands, this may well have been the case. But this is Clutch, and they are one of those very rare bands who never seem to put a foot wrong. They seem to have a keen eye and own sense on what they themselves require and what their loyal fans will also enjoy. This collection confirms that statement, as it is another fine addition to the Clutch catalogue.
The covers affirm what you would expect their rock inspirations to be, but they also offer further insight into the kind of reputation and respect they themselves may crave and would want to be thought of by rockers in the decades ahead. ZZ Top and Creedence Clearwater Revival are often thought of as the down with the people blue collar rockers and are still adored. While there is a fantastic belter of an updated version of ‘Passive Restraint’ featuring Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, which indicates the band’s self-knowledge of their crossover appeal for rockers and metal heads alike.
If, like me, you may wonder why they have they have bothered re-recording ‘Electric Worry’, these thoughts are kicked into dust as you find yourself too busy enjoying its bluesy rock grooves to care. The same goes with an even older favourite ‘Space Jam’, this version adds a more up-to date production to it than the former, but once again it just has the knack to hit the spot.
Quite frankly, every track is a winner. Just hit the play button or place the needle at the begging of the vinyl of side one and enjoy the hard rock swinging grooves. No one around really does it like Clutch. There isn’t any add on embellishments you may find over the course of their studio albums proper, just the sound of Clutch playing it straight in a studio/garage, and let’s face it, that’s what they kinda do best anyway.
If I had to pick a couple of standouts then the afore-mentioned ‘Passive Restraints’, ‘Run, John Barleycorn’, Punk Rock Fury’s ‘Smoke Banshee’, and the closing earworm of ‘Willie Nelson’, which leaves you absent mindedly singing “one thing’s for certain Willie Nelson only smokes killer weed” while you’re filling up the kettle for a brew.
Weathermaker Series Vol 1 may not be the best place to start if you are new to the Clutch experience. But, for converts it is a great distraction from the you know what shite going on, and fills in nicely for the much-anticipated next album of all new material, as one wonders which songs they could revisit and cover for Vol II. In the meantime, Vol 1 is another Clutch quality assured stamped approved release.