Staff Rating: Crank this to 8 of 11
Alternative, Blues, Stoner rock
RL Burnside, Clutch
Looking for some lo-fi, dirty blues for your collection? Look no further than Larman Clamors’ 2013 release Alligator Heart. If you’re not familiar with his music or art, take a look at our review of his Frogs album. Alligator Heart continues down the swampy path where Frogs left off, it’s full of rustic, deep bluesy rhythms and of course, the gruff, raspy vocals that complement the music very well.
Opening the album is "Alligator Heart", a laid back acoustic jam with bucket tapping style drumming, a very fitting, enjoyable first track. This leads into the upbeat, stomping of "Banshee W’Me", this could be one of the best songs we’ve heard in a while that is under two minutes. Next is "Perdition At Dawn", with the distortion of guitars, clattering percussion and the backing vocals at the end, this is easily one of the strongest tracks. Moving on to "Vines Of Yggdrasil", this instrumental is crisp and clean as every instrument is perfectly placed as the sound just stomps out of your speakers, so turn this one up a couple notches. "Done No Good" has an appealing drum rhythm and slide guitar that slowly develops and will engulf you. Also, the distant background vocals here add some mystic to this song. The chugging vibe of "Been Cooking" has the most interesting lyrics on the album, as the guttural vocals stand out here and take control. The album keeps moving along at an entertaining swamp-boogie pace with "She Sent Her Hounds" and "I’m Buildin’ Ruins". The distant "Crow On A Wagon Wheel", slows things down a bit, sounds as if the acoustics were recorded in one live take.
Closing the album are two tracks that tie into one another, "Aether Bound 1 – Scorched Earth" and "Aether Bound II - Dust And Ghost". Scorched Earth quietly begins with a single guitar note and airy cymbals; the song keeps a modest pace as it eventually leads into Dust and Gold, where things start to pick-up. The vibe gets quicker as the drums and the guitars are cranked up a bit, all the while the spoken word singing keeps a steady pace; making for a great ending.
Alligator Heart shows some growth from previous albums, which is impressive given the style of music. Our editors all agree that this may be his best album to date; even the artwork is great; therefore we’ll turn this one up to 8, a notch higher than Frogs. - 1/24/2014
Standout Tracks: Banshee W’Me, Been Cooking