Wizards, werewolves, swords in the stones and smoke-breathing dragons… no, that’s not a premise for an epic Dungeons & Dragons campaign, but standard set design for a stoner metal band CROBOT. “We love involving the dragon in our extracurricular activities,” the singer said. Brandon Yeagley explains ambiguously. “It’s enigmatic, I know, but accessories are just another part of our personality that we try to incorporate into everything we do.” If you think this sounds like a scene out of Spinal Faucet then you’d be absolutely right, as the incredibly energetic leader even hatches from a giant egg on occasion. Ambition is a constantly hungry beast, and no amount of physics, gravity, and the laws of nature can stop the Pennsylvania quartet from conceptualizing their creative visions.
The creativity is not limited to the band’s music, however, as a guitarist Chris Bishop, who is a tattoo artist by trade, is responsible for the design and construction of all stage props as well as all albums and unique works. However, the illustration of the latest full version of the funkadelic outfit, feel this, uses a child’s hand wielding brass knuckles holding a deliciously extravagant melting ice cream. “The irony of it all is that I can’t have ice cream because I’m lactose intolerant. I’m a sucker for chocolate chip cookie dough,” Brandon confess with regret. The brass knuckles had to be custom made to fit a child because, unsurprisingly, they don’t make them for children. CROBOT brass knuckles aren’t on their way to becoming the next unique piece of merchandise, unlike the band’s hot sauce collection that’s released in conjunction with every LP cycle. Original and unrealistic product ideas are always floating around in the brain of Brandon, Chrisdrummer Dan Ryan and bassist Tim Peugh however, including the desire to create a CROBOT video game. Perhaps more realistic, given that they use a lot of wizards and werewolves in their lyrics, a board game similar to Dungeons & Dragons might be more doable.
In the decade that CROBOT have been a funkadelic fuzz machine in their own right, each release has seen them mature lyrically while still being able to retain that swagger and playfulness that makes them so entertaining. The new record feel this not only incorporates flangey riffs and squelchy bass lines, but the guitar work is often delicate and BrandonThe lyrics of are more stripped down than ever. The Ballad Golden explores themes of bereavement, in particular the tragic death of SOUND GARDENit is Chris Cornell almost five years ago. Now that the scars are about to be healed, it’s a good time to share them with the world. While the song was written parallel Johnny-Andrewwho also helped write the band’s first single from the previous album maternal brain, low lifethose present claimed that he had a SOUND GARDEN vibe to it. “So why not make this song a tribute to Chris Cornellconsidering how inspirational he has been to us as a band, me personally as a vocalist, and to all of us as a musical community.
Free yourself is a piece that sums up everything CROBOT maybe and more. Sweet, haunting piano notes and vocal melodies sound before BishopThe scathing riffs decimate any trace of innocence. “The approach to this record was, as always, very guitar oriented because Bishop is just a monster. He’s somewhere between Angus/Malcolm Young with a Southern blues vibe close to LYNYRD SKYNYRDbut then there is Tom Morello elements too. Man can just excrete stoner riffs for days. Among the tracks that have yet to be released, Brandon is most eager for fans to hear the hard-hitting song Dizzy. The tracks of feel this underwent baptisms of fire on the live circuit while CROBOT performed across the United States, crafting each night’s 11-track setlist with at least seven of the new songs. “We’ve always been a band that likes to test the waters with our fanbase, and these songs feel so comfortable that without them the set just doesn’t have the same energy.”
After four studio albums and three EPs, they finally found the winning formula that works well with CROBOT‘s ethos. “We hadn’t really worked with someone in the studio who goes against the grain as much as Jay Ruston Is that.” The sheer madness that is exorcised on stage is hard to capture on record, but the producer Jay Ruston was the one who showed the band what was missing when it came to recording the tracks. The standard process for most groups, CROBOT included, is to first record each track per instrument. “Record all the drums first because everything is already set up and the mics are in the perfect place and we don’t want to move anything around. That way all the sounds sound the same and there are fewer variables. But I think that’s just the pit the recording as a whole fell into,” concludes Brandon. This time however, each song was recorded as a live band to capture the energy and authenticity of the record, before moving on to the next track. “If it was up to us, we would still have recorded as a live band. Now we have this work that says it’s doable and it’s not impossible. We did it this way last time and we could definitely do it this way again.
Words have the power to conjure up mental images. Sometimes they’re heartfelt, sometimes they’re graphic, and sometimes they’re hilarious. ‘Let’s go dancing with the dead, they know how to kill it’, from the new track dance with the dead, is one of them. In the event of an impending zombie apocalypse, Brandon has a few tricks up his sleeve if he finds himself without access to a gun, a sword or a baseball bat. He would use his hips. “They’re the fastest part of my body and at this point they’ve had a lot of practice. I think I could dodge a zombie pretty quickly. The speed and accuracy with which that response came is suspect, as if it was a common thought that was probed Brandonmind on more than one occasion. “Honestly, I don’t need to recharge them, I just need to oil them. That’s all. Like the Tin Man. I would just have to loosen up, which is rule number one in zombieland.”
Balance is an imperative part of life, in all walks of life, and can sometimes be hard to find. The combination of soul vulnerability in CROBOT‘s lyrics and vocal melodies, paired with their psychedelic oscillators, fuzzy bass lines and devilishly distorted guitar riffs are what make feel this CROBOTmagnum opus.
Feel This is available now through Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group.
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