CROBOT smashed onto the scene in with their debut Something Supernatural back in 2014 and like a Rock and Roll juggernaut, they didn’t lose momentum for a second. After relentless touring for more than a year, they somehow managed to get into the studio and bash out their latest offering Welcome To Fat City.
The first song, title track of the record, starts off with a slightly flat drum intro, but kicks off once the guitars come in with their funky, grimy melody. Brandon Yeagley‘s voice is as always complimentary to the heavy bass and the signature effects Chris Bishop twists into his guitar work. The message is good here too, a satirical and obtuse look at the creed and gluttony of the world.
Play It Cool is just as riff laden, and as cool. The weird and wonderful effects are always what’s brought in fans to this band, they add something unusual to the ensemble. The best thing about CROBOT is while there are many frills and it’s such a crazy kind of sound, you as listener and still catch on to those grooves and sing along, and try to match the power of Brandon Yeagley‘s voice. It’s very good fun.
Easy Money is probably the best song on this album in terms of opener, it’s got that immediate something that is wiry and snarky, it’s got something to say from the get go, and boy does it say it! Not For Sale has single written all over it, it’s the band at their best, full of energy, true spirit of Hard Rock and Roll. Passionate drums, silky vocals, and a mega riff that is undeniable. One for the repeat button most definitely. Hold On For Dear Life a twisting, turning sort of track, the stomping and somewhat disjointed (intentionally so) in tone; it really adds that mystical quality to the track that many songs from the last album had.
Temple In the Sky is once more a good track, but starts to feel a little like the formula of the previous record needs a little jumpstart into something less familiar. The way CROBOT makes their music has a distinction from any other band working within the same genre, and they’re miles head in those terms, but in comparison to their own material this album so far hasn’t surprised anywhere yet.
Right Between The Eyes, too, has the same kind of feel as the rest of the album, but it’s so heavy and mean, you will soon find that you sort of don’t mind that it’s all following the same sort of idea. It’s a big track, with big attitude and it doesn’t care if it fits in neatly with expectations, because it’s so far removed from the music everyone else is making in the Heavy Rock scene.
Blood On the Snow is yet another track that exemplified CROBOT at their best. It’s hard to say anything new about this album because there’s a distinct feel that is honestly best understood from first-hand experience. For sure, it can’t be said that CROBOT don’t put the effort in here. Welcome To Fat City has energy coming out of every orifice, it’s teeming with life and big anthematic screams.
However, in places it feels a little too much like the album before. Some tracks from this album could be swapped and changed with something from the previous. This means that while this is music that still makes you want to dance and shriek your head off, it doesn’t add anything new that wasn’t already there. Nothing’s bad, in fact it’s all pretty bloody tight and has that distinct feel of CROBOT, but it’s not adding anything extra. This is essentially looking a gift horse in the mouth; being greedy for more and more from a band that already have their own identity and sound, and that isn’t going to change for anybody.
Steel The Show comes in again with an odd sort of drum intro, considering that previous tracks like Fly On the Wall have such impressive and complicated patterns, the playing feels a little half-hearted here. Yet again, that blues and groove is ultimately good fun, but it doesn’t strike a massive amount of enthusiasm in the breakdown either. A little bit of a shame, but there had to be a low(ish) point in here somewhere.
Moment of Truth is a ballady sort of track, a noir of the ultra cool kind, the sort of story you like to hear from CROBOT. A tale woven into this sort of music really works well, and while this album’s message overall is stronger and more focused than before, the odd little tales you find in tracks like this are gems that keep on giving.
Plague of the Mammoth is a superb name for any track, and while it’s not a bad one, doesn’t really convey the kind of weight that the title implies. A little bit forgettable here, and it’s a shame because in an album with this much sound, to bring out the big guns at the end would have been appropriate.
If you liked what CROBOT had to offer before, you’re still going to love this album. While it doesn’t build much further than the last album, Welcome To Fat City is still filled with catchy hoots, that incredible voice and those warped guitars. It’s exactly what you’d expect, and what we expect is something Funky and totally off the wall. Consider that delivered.
Welcome To Fat City is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.
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