Something Supernatural

Written by: AP on 29/03/2015 15:25:36

Crobot’s debut album “Something Supernatural” completely evaded my attention when it released in the final quarter of 2014, yet having been flabbergasted by the band in concert recently, its omission from last year’s review pool suddenly felt like a criminal offense. The Pottsville, PA based quartet comprising vocalist Brandon Yeagley, guitarist & backing vocalist Chris Bishop, bassist Jake Figueroa and his brother on the drums, Paul Figueroa; is one of those strange epiphanies that, without explicitly disclosing the elusive it which makes their music so enticing, has such energy, aplomb and lasting value, that the failure (or conscious decision not) to introduce real novelty to the genre in question is rendered moot. Indeed, “Something Supernatural” may be yet another notch in the rapidly lengthening chain of vintage rock releases, but it passes the threshold between assembly line and important brick with flying colours by virtue of the sheer bombast, exuberance and ear for a catchy tune upon which its eleven tracks are built.

Forget about revelling in the fuzz and psychedelia of the 60’s and 70’s (the formula adopted by many of today’s heritage rock revivalists) - Crobot’s weapon of choice is ballsy, unpretentious, Southern fried rock’n’roll full of huge, bending riffs and explosive rhythms. Once opening track “Legend of the Spaceborne Killer” rips free of the initial harmonic feedback, the thing busts through the door with almost preposterous bravado, compelling an image of gratuitously costumed gentlemen of the 80’s hair metal generation marching onto the stage amidst plumes of fire and confetti. It’s obvious at once that Crobot aren’t intending to make any creative dents, as their arsenal of riffs from the Deep South is by no means uncommon. But there is nonetheless something incredibly refreshing about the band’s philosophy of catchy first, groundbreaking second when it comes to writing songs. In that sense they’re much like Rival Sons or Wolfmother - though utilising a significantly heavier tone.

There is another resemblance yet, one which for most listeners will be the most obvious and immediate source of inspiration audible in Crobot’s music: the way Bishop handles his instrument has an undeniable muse in Tom Morello; that same touch of funky swagger is what captures the ear in “Skull of Geronimo”, “Fly on the Wall” and “Night of the Sacrifice”, none of which would sound misplaced on an Audioslave record if Yeagley’s singing were shaved off. Much like Audioslave also, J. Figueroa’s bass licks and P. Figueroa’s insistent pounding enjoy a strong presence in the mix, giving the many bombastic moments planted throughout “Something Supernatural” even more oomph. The impressive strength and range of Yeagley’s voice, too - not to mention his knack for penning quirky, yet memorable lyrics à la “You’ve gotta slay a few dragons to get to the princess” in the ridiculously catchy “Wizards” - plays an important bit in creating the ludicrously powerful expression by which Crobot mean to establish themselves as a heavyweight in the contemporary hard rock genre.

Admittedly, Crobot rely on said approach a little too exclusively perhaps. There is some structural variety here, in the blues lashings of “La Mano de Lucifer” and the emotional balladry of “Queen of the Light”, but Bishop & J. Figueroa still rarely abandon their blasting interplay and as a result, the signature riffs can be somewhat difficult to distinguish from one another. This is especially true from “Skull of Geronimo” through to “Night of the Sacrifice), though ironically, it is this quartet that forms the most riveting segment of “Something Supernatural”. Even the weaker tracks on offer here have more lasting value than you’d typically find within the genre, with just “The Necromancer” and the aforementioned “Queen of the Light” passing by without raising much hell. And if that isn’t the hallmark of a fantastic album, then what is?


Download: Legend of the Spaceborne Killer, Skull of Geronimo, Fly on the Wall, Night of the Sacrifice, Wizards
For the fans of: Audioslave, Rival Sons, Scorpion Child, Wolfmother
Listen: Facebook

Release date 28.10.2014
Wind-up Records

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