Warbly warbly wah wah Wookiees…
Hailed on 23 September 2016 by Wind-Up Records and embraced by by Mark Granger
Crobot mix Sabbath-y riffs and howling vocals that fall somewhere between Ian Gillan and Rich Robinson, all married to classic rock beats while still managing to sound modern, perhaps thanks to guitarist Chris Bishop’s whammy pedal peppering the riffs with a little modern metal hot sauce. The result is a sound comparable to that of bands like Clutch or, more recently, Monster Truck and Scorpion Child.
Fans of their other albums won’t be disappointed with Welcome to Fat City, picking up as it does exactly where their major label debut Something Supernatural left off. Take from that statement what you will but what it really means is they aren’t messing with their formula and as a result aren’t busting boundaries because putting warbly guitar effects on nearly all songs does not a great stride make. In fact if the warbly guitar effects do anything at all it makes the classic rock sounds that Crobot offer up smack a little of being a little too desperate to add their own stamp on things. And, hey Crobot, listen: you do what you do well and don’t need to dress it up in new clothes. It just sounds wrong.
You see, the songs on …Fat City are good. Not kick you in the head, drag you back to the stereo for another round good, but good nonetheless. The title track is catchy enough to make you nod your head and stamp your feet and the wah-soaked intro and subsequent stop-start nature of ‘Play It Cool’ is equally so. ‘Easy Money’ starts out with an interesting riff that morphs in to a fat groove and an album highlight thanks to a big ram-it-in-your-music-hole chorus. Another high point is on the meditative ‘Hold On For Dear Life’, a song that benefits from, rather than succeeds in spite of, the ever present trapped delay whammy warbles. It’s push-pull rhythms refreshing and reminiscent of …Trendkill-era Pantera.
Talking of Pantera, the whammy bar antics and thick-as-fuck riffs of ‘Right Between The Eyes’ owe a huge debt to Dimebag Darrell but the song is let down by the chorus reaching for but never quite finding a hook. The bluesy workout of ‘Moment Of Truth’ lay bare the bands raw songwriting and musical skills and closing track ‘Plague Of The Mammoths’ is huge and proggy but beset with the old warbly warbly effects again that at this point are just a bit annoying.
Welcome To Fat City is a pretty good collection of classic rock/metal songs that should, and will, appeal to exactly the kind of people who like that kind of music. It’s just not going to set the world alight, especially if the guitarist can’t use a little more restraint with his effects pedals. Or at least break out a few of his other fun sounds. Unless they had Chewbacca in the recording studio and they let him sing on a bunch of songs. Oh no, maybe I’ve just been terribly racist and offended the entire population of Kashyyyk by assuming that if I hear a Wookiee I’m hearing Chewbacca. If I have, I apologise on behalf of this website who definitely don’t endorse all my views on different species. Fictional or otherwise.
6 out of 10
- Welcome To Fat City
- Play It Cool
- Easy Money
- Not For Sale
- Hold On For Dear Life
- Temple In The Sky
- Right Between The Eyes
- Blood On The Snow
- Steal The Show
- Moment Of Truth
- Plague Of The Mammoths