Does mainstream hard rock even still exist? It seems you hardly hear anything new on the radio nowadays—mind you, I stopped listening to radio back when the CRTC took my baby away. But I know that everyone from Staind’s Aaron Lewis to Default’s Dallas Smith is cutting country-music records now, and judging by the bill on the latest mainstream rock cruise ship, I’d reckon that either we’re facing a nu-metal revival, or there’s simply a lack of new blood on major labels. (I mean, when the last time you actually listened to Papa Roach!?)
Dude, even if you paid me to be on the ShipRocked cruise, the only bands that would draw me away from the mini-bar are Mothership and Monster Truck. (Nice to see both of ‘em getting some much deserved recognition, BTW.) But this band Crobot on the cruise also caught my eye—mainly because their moniker reminds me of the one-off metal supergroup with Dave Grohl, Wino and Lemmy (RIP). They’re signed to Wind-Up Records, the label that brought us Creed and Evanescence… and hey, they’re actually pretty heavy!
Welcome to Fat City is their second album, following their debut in 2014. And just about every song on here was made for radio, with just two of the 11 tracks clocking in over four minutes. The title track kicks things off with some mid-paced southern grooves that fall somewhere between Monster Truck and Clutch—with some impressive wailed vocals to match. “Play It Cool” employs some funky palm muting, another mid-paced roller that veers towards Buckcherry territory, while “Easy Money” and “Temple in the Sky” recall the Zeppelin worship of Rival Sons.
“Hold on for Dear Life,” one of those radio-unfriendly numbers, is downright doomy, a southern-fried heavy head-nodder that probably wouldn’t be outta place on one of my old CKLN playlists. By contrast, lead single “Not for Sale” combines a vocal-driven verse with a groovy, catchy chorus and a solid speedy bridge—three minutes and a cloud of dust. Not sure how much airplay this one’s been getting, but maybe, just maybe there actually is some good music on the radio today.