Crobot, the Pennsylvania kings of self-described “riffage,” go completely intergalactic on their new, second full-length LP Welcome To Fat City. Produced by Machine (whose worked with the likes of Lamb of God, Clutch & Gym Class Heroes), the band subverts hard rock and metal conventions with dynamic song composition and a genre-defying looseness. Check out the full stream below, available exclusively on Billboard.com before the album’s wide release via Wind-Up Records tomorrow, Sept. 23.
The album is inspired nominally by a failed Aspen, CO mayoral campaign by gonzo figurehead Hunter S. Thompson, in which he wanted to rename the popular ski destination “Fat City” to drive away developers and real estate investors. The band adopts a similar creed to keep hard rock weird by creating a “Fat City” of their own, albeit one that exists on an entirely different planet.
Apart from the name, the band was inspired by from two years of extensive touring following their debut LP, 2014’s Something Supernatural. Lead singer Brandon Yeagley credits their time playing shows with several rock heavyweights in developing their new sound.
“Welcome to Fat City is a portrait of our influences at the time of its inception,” Yeagley says. “Years of touring with bands like Motörhead, Clutch, & Black Label Society have lent their impact on our sound in a way that is a refinement to the Crobot spectrum.”
The sound of the new album builds on the hard rock of their previous release, with a greater focus on songwriting and a tone shift that is more cosmic than supernatural. Their heavy instrumentation finds new range by blending elements of funk on “Temple in the Sky” and “Play It Cool” and slowing it down for the bluesy “Moment of Truth.” Yeagley continues to impress with his powerhouse vocals that are reminiscent of Chris Cornell in his Soundgarden heyday, while the guidance of Machine has undeniably pushed the band forward.
“With the help of the producing power of the Machine, we have evolved into a funkier and heavier band simultaneously, while never compromising our mission statement: keep those heads bobbing and the hips a-shakin!” Yeagley says.
In that regard, the band has succeeded. They have created a set of songs that fit well into the metal pantheon, while also establishing their own style that’s fun and funky. For a place called “Fat City,” it sure is a good time.