“Motherbrain” is the highly anticipated new studio album from Crobot, which is due to be released on 23rd August 2019. You can pre order the album from the bands website below. Despite being out of the public eye for a couple of years the Crobot fan base seems to have grown from strength to strength, with this album being prayed for by many. Crobot used the time away to sign a great record deal with Mascot Records and also pick up a new rhythm section in the form of Dan Ryan (drums) along with James Lascu and Eddie Collins sharing the role of touring bassist. Brandon Yeagley (lead vocals and harmonica) and Chris Bishop (vocals and guitar) remain constant along with the groove and funk that this band are well known and loved for.
The artwork for this album is something else, coming from the master of great riffs, Chris Bishop, who uses his talent as an artist and tattooist to great effect in pulling together a very evocative and highly desirable album cover. “Motherbrain” was produced by Corey Lowery (Seether / Saint Asonia) and this allowed the band to explore the darker side of their music both in terms of vibe and sound, but whilst still retaining all of the uniqueness that Crobot is well regarded for.
The album opens with “Burn” which was co-written with Brian Vodinh of 10 Years and helps to set the scene for the album. If you were thinking that Crobot would test the water and build up the intensity over the course of the album then you would be mistaken as “Burn”” takes no prisoners from the start. Deep, sonorous vocals from Yeagley ask questions to be resoundingly answered by Bishop, punching you in the face with his extraordinary riffs that will leave you reeling. There is so much going on just below the surface on this track that you feel you could peel back layer after layer and find even more juicy morsels. The chorus kicks in and implores you to sing along, whilst the toe tapping melody does not let up. The vocals are pretty high in the mix which is great as it allows you to hear the words and sing along. The rhythm section adds to the cacophony of sound that leaves you breathless and smiling so wide your cheeks hurt.
“Keep me down” is an instant head nodding, toe tapping track. Yeagley uses his vocals cleverly in rock god mode, full of bravado and sneer, whilst beneath him the bass drives so hard that it almost hurts. The riffs from Bishop are buzzy and full of groove, with a harder edge that keeps you on your toes. The drumming is really clever too, giving you a degree of space, allowing you to process all the riches laid before you.
By now you will be getting the picture that this is not just another album but it is a terrific album, making the anticipation of the nest track almost unbearable, like a kid getting high in a sweet shop you are begging for the next hit and it comes as a belter. “Drown” initially has a 70’s vibe for me before launching into a full throttle attack on your senses. Deep, dirty and very sensual. Yeagley’s vocals weave a story so rich before cranking it up to the chorus. It reminds me slightly of Velvet Revolver “Slither” as it is so replete with passion in all its guises, massive, crunching bass interplays with the rising riffs that sing and soar. This is a stunning track that sounds absolutely magnificent live.
Catchy as anything “Low life” shows another side to the vocals, up tempo this is the track to get you bouncing. Jewels from the bass and guitar shimmer adding piques of interest, before intensifying into the chorus, which will stay in your head every after, like the earworm it is.
“Alpha Dawg” uses the bass to great effect, filled with funk, matching the vocals for depth and strength whilst allowing the nuanced guitar to peak through. Feature howling as well as a elegant drumming this is another track that will get your toes tapping. Swirling and intricate guitar from Bishop adds texture whilst the changes in tempo are really clever, allowing a small amount of space to get your brain to catch up.
Up next is “Stoning the Devil” Yeagley states “I wanted a different spin on the act of stoning the devil.” “Muslims take a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to throw stones at these pillars. The act is supposed to ward off evil spirits and cleanse one’s soul. It’s a different culture for the Devil’s storyline in our genre.” The vocals are wistful, almost carried in on a passing wind, winding around the melody that also lifts and dips, discordant and evocative. The drums really add texture whilst the bass holds everything together.
“Gasoline” shimmers into existence, rippling with drums and guitar, subtle before building into an almighty cacophony of sound. Slightly off tempo with a fat bassline and machine gun guitar ably supported by thundering drumming, it delivers a powerful punch. The vivid landscape that Crobot can create with their music really interests me, transporting you between worlds and emotions all in one perfectly put together package, that keeps you slightly off kilter until the final distorted chords fade away.
“Destroyer” manages to be both muscular and aggressive and otherworldly. The bass and guitars are snarly and angular, with some moments of voracity which are breathtaking. The combination here is really great and shows the difference in the band in terms of dynamic. The drumming is pure joy too, throbbing but stripped back when needed showing a mass of intelligence.
Dark and heavy “Black out” blisters. Gruelling bassline that growl and bark combine with imagery from Bishops guitar, I have no idea how he manages to produce the sounds he does but here there is a energy the pierces the bleakness. The lyrics are delivered beautifully, gravelly and compelling with a chorus that will get your head nodding and hips dipping.
For me the stand out track of the album is “After life” which has a many changes in tempo and texture. I think this could be the track which brings Crobot commercial success as I can imagine it being played on mainstream radio stations as well as rock stations. Ryan deserves a gold star for his paired back drumming in parts, whilst the bass is replete but a great Crobot track would be nothing without the majesty of the guitar work from Bishop and boy, does he deliver. Transcendental riffs, subtle glimmers merge with massive passion, leaving you swooning and begging for more.
The final track of Motherbrain is “The Hive” which is a further exploration into what Crobot can deliver, trippy and fluid with a massive bassline and stunning drumming, both of which are cleverly delivered. Really atmospheric with swirling intensity and a fitting conclusion to one hell of an album.
Crobot have used their time away to come back stronger and with greater finesse. Motherbrain is exceptionally well crafted and the production is really top notch. It is brilliant to see a band, who have been through some tough times, emerge like a phoenix from the ashes, and this album should give them the recognition they deserve and help them on that upward trajectory.
Motherbrain is a rare album that captures your attention from the first chord to the dying embers of the last, with no let up in between. Simply stunning, welcome back Crobot!
Thank you to DevilsGateMedia.com for allowing me early access to review the album, it is much appreciated.
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