Review: Crobot – ‘Rat Child’ EP

No point denying it; here at DGM Towers, we do have a soft spot for Pennsylvania groove-merchants Crobot. Maybe it was down to Crobot frontman Brandon Yeagley finishing their short set on the acoustic stage/trailer at Download Festival 2015 and picking up a box of Tuborg Lager and then jumping the barrier to come hang with everyone in the mud. Maybe it’s because time after time these guys deliver on the live stage regardless of it being a support slot, a headline show, or a festival appearance. Maybe it’s because the music that they make together is just so goddamn groovy that parts of your body that haven’t moved in ages will miraculously come to life and before you know it you are recreating Christopher Walken in the Fatboy Slim video. Whatever the reason; we really dig Crobot. So the arrival of new Crobot music is treated with the same amount of glee as finding an extra portion of fries in your KFC takeaway. Minted. Proper minted.

Crobot on ‘Rat Child’…“These Motherbrain leftovers (and new tunes alike), will satiate your tastebuds for some new Crobot riffage. We had the unique opportunity to collaborate with Frankie Bello (Anthrax), Howard Jones (Light the Torch), & Stix Zadinia (Steel Panther), with whom we not only value friendship but idolize as well. Whether it’s gritty grooves, ballistic riffs, or that good ol’ Crobot sound you’re yearning for to getcha through, we’ve got just frequencies for ya! Say hello to our lil’ friends…”

Those “lil’ friends” are four big-ass slices of Crobot packed with enough groove to make the ground shake as if Godzilla and King Kong were getting jiggy-wit-it. First up is the gnarly strains of ‘Mountain’ ft. Frank Bello, and as you would imagine, the bass licks are mucho capable of rattling free the fillings in your mouth. Some of the jams are incredible; kind of trippy and hypnotic, there is also more than a hint of a Black Sabbath influence here and there – especially when the guitars of Chris Bishop combine with the nailed-on work of drummer Dan Ryan, and Mr. Bello on bass. One of those tracks that should come with an instruction of “for maximum listening pleasure this needs to be played loud…louder!”. ‘Kiss It Goodbye’ ft. Howard Jones is a snarling beast of a track with some cool guitar effects from Chris Bishop during the intro, and it’s easy to imagine Brandon Yeagley’s hair flying as he leads the front few rows in synchronized headbanging. One of the most charismatic frontmen out there, Yeagley in full-flow is a sight to behold, and if you are yet to witness Crobot in action then please remedy that. After a few short bursts of guitar histrionics, Howard Jones comes in with his inimitable vocals and the roof comes off in true Crobot-style.

‘Everyone Dies’ ft. Stix Zadinia is the left-field cut on ‘Rat Child’, a piano-driven Queen-inspired beauty co-written with Steel Panther drummer Stix Zadina who also performs piano, drums, and bass on the track. Yeagley puts in one of the best vocal performances of his career to date and it sounds like he is having a blast, especially when he brings in Bishop for a powerful guitar solo full of amazing tones, with what sounds like…” kill them, Bishop…”. The kind of track which had it been performed by The Struts then the mainstream music media would be falling over each other to heap praise upon. A real show-stopping moment that showcases a different angle to Crobot, and also highlights the fact that there is more to Zadinia than meets the eye. The title track brings the EP to an end in fine style. The bad-ass funk-filled intro suggests that Crobot might just see the EP out in a laid-back way, but then the training wheels come off and the pace is ramped up with a short burst of speed and a Rage Against The Machine-like groove. Chris Bishop shows yet again why he is such an underrated player and the noises that he coaxes out of his axe are incredible. Listen out for the fuzz-filled solo which meshes perfectly with what sounds like bongos in the background, and who can’t identify with Yeagley when he proclaims that “…like a reptile in a cage, I’m all pent up with rage…”?.

Four fantastic tracks, three inspired collaborations., pick up ‘Rat Child’ EP from June 18th, and get onboard the Crobot train.

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