For a band now only releasing its second album, Crobot know how to use a tried and tested blueprint. Lay down a dozen or so slabs of hard rock goodness that don’t mess about and leave the listener wanting more yet suitably satisfied. It’s a practice used by many and it’s worked for every band before them so it’s only fitting it works here.
Welcome to Fat City has (pardon the pun) trimmed the fat from debut album, Something Supernatural. There’s no dramatic shift in the band’s style, it’s still the meaty hard rock you know and love inspired by the greats of yesterday. It’s maybe been dialled up more on the groovier side of things with an added splash of psychedelic fun but it’s still Crobot and it’s still fucking heavy.
I generally find singles to be the weakest songs on an album but there’s a reason why “Not For Sale” was the first official taster of the album. Have you heard it? It’s the epitome of a Crobot song. Furiously hard and heavy with a massive bass line from Jake Figueroa, you can feel the energy coming out of the speakers. Then there’s the hilarious accompanying video featuring every reaction you’ll have when you see Crobot live.
Obviously, some of these songs if you saw them on that mighty tour last year, are going to ring a bell. Tracks like “Play It Cool” and “Easy Money” received an outing and the titles lodged themselves in my brain to keep an eye out for them. Then the pair of them appear right after album-opener and title track “Welcome to Fat City”. They’re weighty and raise the funk factor to a new high for the band.
As always, there’s a load of effects on Chris Bishop’s monstrous riffs. It’s not been done for the sake of it as some guitarists like to but rather it accompanies the melodies, bringing a freshness to it alongside giving their band its identity. But even during the more sombre moments like during “Hold On For Dear Life”, Bishop knows where to hold off, focusing just on the notes themselves and adds extra levity to a tamer point in the song.
Meanwhile one of the biggest draws is frontman Brandon Yeagley’s voice. You can just imagine him bouncing around to the new tunes in the way only he manages to especially during “Temple in the Sky” and its breakdown. His rasps and growls match evenly with his high-pitched howls and screams. It’s a distinctive voice and another factor in helping Crobot stand apart from the rest of the crowd. However, if it was just a little less booming, he’d have had a number of offers if he was singing during the heyday of 80s hair metal.
Everything has been balanced perfectly on Welcome to Fat City and to use the tried and true phrase; it’s greater than the sum of its parts. Yet, its parts individually are so great themselves and each gives Crobot its musical identity. Jake Figueroa’s bass with his brother, Paul, on drums lends itself mainly to the groove side of Crobot’s sound and bring a sense of doom and foreboding with tracks like the appropriately-titled mammoth “Plague of the Mammoth” and “Blood on the Snow”.
Welcome to Fat City is the perfect follow-up to an amazing debut album. The fresh coat of paint for the more trippy numbers allows the band to flex the muscles that were already known whilst delivering the Crobot sound we all know and love. Alongside tightening things up, the refinement here should stand them in good stead.
Welcome to Fat City is released 23rd September on the following formats: