Bluesbreakers: Crobot

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Many a new band is at pains to describe themselves as “for real”. But where would rock’n’roll be without a pinch of mythology from its protagonists? As stoner rock-influenced exponents of “dirty groove rock”, Crobot are keen to keep their music rooted in organic, funky jam-derived riffs. They boast a bluesy feel and a visceral hard rock punch. But they’re also in thrall to mysterious themes and otherworldly subject matter.

“Did you hear the story of the skull of Geronimo?” singer and harmonica player Brandon Yeagley asks The Blues in the distinctly un-spooky setting of a Leeds cafe. Skull Of Geronimo is the title of a standout track on his band’s debut album, Something Supernatural./o:p

“Folklore has it that the skull and bones of [Native American leader] Geronimo were stolen by a secret society, and new leaders are now grown from his skin and bones,” he explains./o:p

Well, it sounds as plausible as someone selling their soul to Satan in return for guitar-playing skills, so who are we to argue?

Such Fortean Times-worthy themes are also to be found in the darkly captivating La Mano De Lucifer and Chupacabra, the latter about the bloodsucking monster of Mexican mythology. But it isn’t so much these lyrical concerns that have caused Crobot’s following to snowball since their current line-up was established in 2012. Rather, it’s the explosive energy generated by their live shows, based on bassist Jake Figueroa and his brother and the band’s drummer Paul Figueroa’s languid, gutsy grooves, guitarist Chris Bishop’s pin-you-to-the-wall riffs and Yeagley’s howling vocal assault, that have pricked up ears from here to Hades.

Meanwhile, lyrics like, ‘You’ve got to slay a few dragons before you get to the princess,’ from Wizards, might be a touch less mystical than they appear. “The overall idea behind the song is about the magic and apparent wizardry of technology battling with the real magic and real wizardry of nature,” Yeagley says. “An epic battle between the two, and I don’t think there’s any doubt which side we’re on.”

As a band who boast that they “only need 10 minutes to plug in and play”, Crobot consider themselves an antidote to the over- produced rock they’ve become all too familiar with back home.

“In the States it feels like the rock radio waves have become stale over the last couple of years, and we definitely represent the alternative to that – no tricks, what you see is what you get. I really think that’s missing in general from music – we’re campaigning to get that organic feel back into rock music. The feel that the blues always had, the feel that bands like the Stones and Aerosmith had.”

Judge for yourself. And even if you take their words with a pinch of salt, rest assured that the music is the real deal./o:p

Something Supernatural is out now via Nuclear Blast.

INFLUENCES

“I love showmen – James Brown, Mick Jagger – and [Chris] Bishop’s guitar style comes from southern rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd. We take a traditional attitude to music. Listen to BB King and you instantly connect with him, not because of what he’s playing, but cos of the way he’s playing it.”/o:p