Hard Rock bands continue to emerge in the current decade, still making their mark on history, and this is despite changing times along with all the new formed genres surrounding them. A good example of such is the dirty Groove Rock Pennsylvanian band Crobot. Originating in 2011, the hardworking bunch toured, toured some more, and inked a deal with Wind-up Records.
With a buzz around them, they released their debut full-length album, Something Supernatural, in late October 2014, and what did they do after that? Tour again. So dedicated to their live show, Crobot has quickly made a name for themselves on the Hard Rock scene, and on September 23, 2016, they returned with their brand new album, Welcome to Fat City. Working with record Producer Machine (Clutch, Lamb of God, Four Year Strong, Fall Out Boy) for the second time, the album was birthed down in Texas back in January of this year with Brandon Yeagley on lead vocals and Harmonica, Chris Bishop on guitar and vocals, Jake Figueroa on bass, and Paul Figueroa on drums.
Released on September 23, 2016, the album includes eleven songs beginning with the title track, a semi-common theme for bands of this nature. Immediately drawing in the listener with strong and dirty, yet very clearly sung vocals of Yeagley, it is mixed with a groovy and somewhat psychedelic guitar playing style. Setting the tone, all the songs are very down-to-earth Rock-n-Roll in length and structure, averaging just over three-minutes. That said, the compositions seem to share a few elements found in bands such as Clutch, Soundgarden, and Rival Sons, but definitely contain a strong pull into that modernized Rock sound found in other bands such as Queens of the Stone Age. For example, “Play It Cool” and “Easy Money” are pure modern Rock-n-Roll with the latter featuring Yeagley’s harmonica skills and Bishop’s guitar work actually entering a similar territory of that of Soundgarden. This is all while the higher screeches of Yeagley’s voice lend themselves to become reminiscent of Chris Cornell.
The album’s lead single, “Not For Sale” is a clear standout with a strong theme and a catchy rhythm throughout. In addition, the fast pace of it all helps to carry the determination of the message. After abruptly ending, “Hold On For Dear Life” begins with a strong intro that again seems influenced by Soundgarden, both in structure and tone. Setting itself apart from the rest, there is a serene break about three minutes in that really helps break up any monotony and breathes a whole new life into the tune. Skipping over to “Right Between the Eyes,” Crobot keeps grooving, and perhaps, if not for the charismatic vocals of Yeagley, this would be the point where monotony occurred and excitement would dissipated. However, Yeagley’s powerful tone, along with moments of change up, keeps the interest level up to speed. Later on, “Steal The Show” features more of that Rock-n-Roll harmonica sound, and with the soft drumming and shakers surrounding, it gets a little lost in terms of standing out enough to actually steal the show, but it is a fun tune regardless.
Traveling on, the slow paced, vocal dominant tune “Moment Of Truth” has a quality vocal range throughout, and again, it is one of the strongest links of the entire band. Possessing an almost Stoner Rock structure, it crosses over to Psychedelic and modern Hard Rock with slight bluesy territory as well. For these reasons, it is a very complete track and one of the more appealing on the album. Finally, Crobot wrap up Welcome to Fat City with an out-of-the-box title, “Plague of the Mammoths,” a song that has a more unique flavor of jam style. Clocking in at three minutes, it has a very abrupt ending that leaves the listener deafened by the silence and wondering why such a harsh conclusion.
Still growing as a band, Crobot is a worthy discovery on the forefront of new Rock-n-Roll bands created in this decade, and Welcome to Fat City ranks as a successful accomplishment for them. Furthermore, the album sees the band branching into more of a unique sound, and the experimentation will further accelerate their career. Without further interruption, CrypticRock gives Welcome to Fat City 3.5 out of 5 stars.