Album Review: The Inspector Cluzo - Horizon
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
It’s been a while since I’ve spent time with the Gascony based Rock-Blues duo The Inspector Cluzo. Back in 2020 I interviewed the band, reviewed them live and gave my opinion on two albums 'Brothers in Ideals' and the live album ‘Brothers In Ideals – We The People Of The Soil Unplugged’. Then I put them to bed for a while. Time moves on and then suddenly I learnt that their ninth album was due for release. I almost missed it, the link to the stream buried in a congested inbox.
Thankfully, I was nudged and dived deep. And deeper. For ‘Horizon’ is possibly the most exciting, refreshing, and simply fantastic album I’ve heard for ages. If you haven’t heard about Laurent (Guitar, Lead Vocal) and Mathieu (Drums), the organic farmers who formed in 2008, then I’d advise you catch up quickly. With 1200 plus gigs under their belt, tours with Clutch across the UK and appearances at Hellfest, Download and Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, The Inspector Cluzo are a phenomenon. A true force of nature.
‘Horizon’ moves forward from their previous albums in many ways. It’s heavier in parts, more expansive, and more versatile. There remains the 12-bar blues boogie that has always underpinned their music, but they have added to it, with thick Hammond keys, guest singers and backing vocals, strings, and piano.
Once more their writing tackles a wide range of topics, drawing on stories and real-life experiences. ‘Wolf at the Door’ recounts the battle the duo had when a duck factory set up close to their farm, their fight against the corporate approach, pollution, and bird flu. ‘Saving the Geese’ is a powerful, bombastic anthem which has their fight against the French State who wanted the band’s healthy geese flock killed as a prevention. Their desire to live their own lives, running Lou Casse in the face of the agro-industries pressure is a beacon of light in a depressingly dark world. You can’t help but applaud them.
But it’s not just their lyrical themes that make The Inspector Cluzo such a magical band. They are incredible musicians. Big riffs, unorthodox drums, harmonious vocals, it’s all here along with so much more. Their rhythm and blues soul are never far from the surface, and it hits right to the heart.
Interestingly, the title track is apparently 15 years old, written but never finished for their debut release until resurfacing during the pandemic. ‘Horizon’ is one of the best songs on the album, slotting comfortably alongside the other 11 tracks and proving that their songs have a timeless feel and vibe. It ebbs and flows, features some lovely string work and some ferocious guitar work.
Elsewhere there is the humour that the band have always managed to portray. ‘Shenanigans’ sees the band reliving time with friend Bill Elder in Nashville whilst the band ponders “what does rock mean today?” on ‘Rockophobia’, which features no less than the legend Iggy Pop. A final nod as well to the satirical poke at those who think they are self-righteously environmentally friendly but who don’t really do anything to deserve that title – yes, ‘The Armchair Activist’ is a real rock ‘n’ roll party vibe with harsh, cutting lyrics that hit home. “Just one thing I won’t do, I don’t grow my own food”. As someone who certainly knows the benefits of home cultivation, this is a song that really resonates.
There’s probably not much more to say. Buy, stream, or steal this album. Kick back with a drink and enjoy one of the best hours of music you’ll experience this year from one of the most original and innovative outfits I’ve ever seen and heard. There won’t be anything finer.