Hailing from Pottsville, PA., Crobot is a rockin’ four piece that do a fantastic job of blending riff-based Rock that was big in the 1970’s with sounds that bring them in to the Modern Rock realm. You hear their various influences but could never accuse them of ripping any band off! For as retro as this album can feel, it is all very fresh and exciting!
Good thing that I listened to the CD before getting my vinyl copy or I would have questioned the health of my turntable and/or stylus! Well played Crobot, well played! The aforementioned sonic curveball leads into “Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer.” I had to check the liner notes to see if Crobot wasn’t a new band fronted by Walt Lafty of Silvertide. Nope,it is Brandon Yeagley who blends the vocal stylings of Robert Plant, Chris Robinson, Chris Cornell and Myles Kennedy with his own to create a powerful set of vocal cords. The opening song is a sludgy groove rocker accented by some spaced out guitar effects. “Nowhere To Hide” continues down the groovy path of sludge laid out before it, albeit more uptempo than its predeccessor. A highlight of the song is Chris Bishop’s bluesy wah-wah solo, he gets in, makes his point and gets out! No overstaying his welcome, just playing for the song. Some slammin’ drums and harmonica welcome “The Necromancer” to your earholes. This tunes drips with a sexy swagger that Aerosmith lost in the late 1970’s. Crobot’sbrotherly rhythm section of Jacob Figueroa on bass and Paul Figueroa on drums are a force throughout the album but shine brightest on “The Necromancer”!
The opening twenty seconds of “La Mano de Lucifer” before the vocals come is a distorted bluesy intro that is as sultry as a summer evening in the Delta. It carries on as Brandon soulfully croons til the 1:07 mark when the Brother’s Figueroa take the tune into a mid-tempo rocker swamp. Jacob’s galloping bass dominates the tune. Multiple tempo changes mixed with a vast array of sonic textures are a testament to the abilities of Crobot and the talents of Producer, Engineer and Mixer, Machine! Yes, that is his professional name. His resume is impressive as is his work here within! “Skull Of Geronimo” is an exercise in atmospheric trippy guitars while the rhythm section lays down a very RATM-esque foundation for Brandon to show off his vocal range. At times, very much Plant, other times very Cornell & Kennedy while forging his own identity vocally that vocalists in the future will be trying to duplicate! Those vocalists have a lot of homework to do as I’m sure Brandon did while woodshedding. Time for another trip down a groovy road. Just envision Led Zeppelin & The Black Crowes writing a song together while at their respective creative peaks and you’ve got “Cloud Spiller.” Here within the lyrics of “Fly On The Wall” is where we discover the origin of the album title. Another groove-laden swampy mid-tempo rocker, this song reminds me of how Black Stone Cherry sounded on their second LP, “Folklore & Superstition”! The lyrics here, as with the majority on this album, are very visual allowing the listener to envision the song in their head.
Things pick back up without losing the groove on “Night Of The Sacrifice”. This song also has a 1970’s swagger to it, vocally. Really digg Chris’ nasty guitar solo. He continues his guitar wizardry with a blistering guitar intro before those dang Figueroa’s kicks in a funky groove that Chris follows throughout “Chupacabra”. It is one of my favorites of this album but let it be known, there isn’t a weak song on Crobot’s debut album! “Wizards” is lyrically epic in its storytelling between the wizards of the past & the modern mechanical wizards. It makes for an epic story without being too wordy, the exact opposite of my reviewing skills! I was hoping for an extended jam to end the song but it abruptly stops, leaving me wanting more! The final song, “Queen Of The Light” is the mellowist cut of the album, dare I say, Crobot’s version of a ballad! Nothing wimpy here, just laid back til the choruses. One of the sweetest solos lies within this song. A great way to end a great album!
I will admit that I am a bit behind getting to the Crobot party but at least I made it! To give credit where credit is due, I got directions to the party from Shaman’s Harvest singer, Nathan Hunt and then from drummer Joe Harrington who wore a Crobot hat in their video for ‘Dangerous’. I hope both bands will tour together again because that’d be one helluva night of Rock N’ Roll!
In closing, while this album is very cohesive sonically it is also equally diverse. All the songs have a familiarity with one another without sounding redundant! It is hard to believe that Crobot are all in their twenties as their songwriting and musicianship is at the level, and beyond, of those who have been doing this professionally for twenty years…..or more!
Do yourselves a favor and BUY the CD or vinyl as the artwork and lyrics are worth the price of the product alone!!! I look foward to the day that I get to experience the power of Crobot, LIVE! Til then, I will pour another Rum, fire up some Nag Champa, dim the lights, lower the phonograph needle and enjoy this album, yet again!!!
Released October 28, 2014
Official Website: http://www.crobotband.com
Brandon Yeagley – Vocals, Harp
Chris Bishop – Guitar, Vocals
Jake Figueroa – Bass
Paul Figueroa – Percussion
Produced, Engineered & Mixed by Machine
1. Legend of the Spaceborne Killer
2. Nowhere to Hide
3. The Necromancer
4. La Mano de Lucifer
5. Skull of Geronimo
6. Cloud Spiller
7. Fly on the Wall
8. Night of the Sacrifice
11. Queen of the Light