“I just need some space to let it fall,
just some time to check my mind,
see if I’m still here,
and haven’t disappeared.”
These are fitting words holding down the chorus to “Let it Fall,” the second track of Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s latest studio album, Servants of the Sun. In 2019, the California rocker remains one of the most prolific artists across the rock and jamband music circuits, and while The Brotherhood is certainly not the first internationally successful rock band he has fronted, it is at this point one of the most musically fresh and exciting.
Servants of The Sun, the seventh studio offering from CRB, is due out this week, set to release on Friday, June 14. Fans of Robinson’s past repertoire of songs with this band will rejoice in this new record, which is yet another colorful collection of groove-heavy originals that brim with the kind of thought-provoking, humble poeticism Robinson has imbued into his best work.
On the road, CRB have been testing this material out live for awhile now, with the songs making appearances at big gigs across the past few weeks, like The Dark Star Jubliee and Summer Camp Music Festival. At the end of this month, they band will kick off a “Servants of The Sun” tour that will see select U.S. dates in New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and then a European run of shows in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and The UK. For the tour, keyboardist Joel Robinow will be taking the seat of longtime CRB member Adam McDougall.
In anticipation of it’s official release, here are some quick thoughts, track by track, on Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s Servants of the Sun. Below the article, check out a live version of the album’s “Rare Birds,” released on the band’s YouTube page earlier this week.
“Some Earthly Delights”
A cool synthesizer front and center gives the kickoff to the album a very vintage, eighties sound. Bold way to start, but Robinson’s songwriting, and this air-tight band, make it work.
“Let it Fall”
Now we’ve got ourselves a real groove. The expert technique of Brotherhood drummer Tony Leone forms the center of this rocking one.
“Venus in Chrome”
A cool, Gospel-like choir provides a great touch on multiple tracks across the record, but it sounds the best on the verses and the chorus of this one.
Neal Casal is Robinson’s right-hand ax-man, and his slide kicks off this one, which for many fans has been a live favorite at recent CRB shows. (Clear evidence below.)
“Stars Fell On California”
A nice mental break, and a soulful one at that. This song feels like one that other bands might have sprung for a female to handle lead vocals on, but Robinson is the man for the job here.
“Come’n Round The Mountain”
Spacey, shuffling, boogie-woogie. If there is a quintessential CRB sound, this sounds like it.
“The Chauffeur’s Daughter”
Many artists today are getting into that cozy genre of cosmic twang, but Robinson’s one of the few that have gotten it really right. On this one, a muted guitar solo leads to a super funky bridge section, complete with a breakdown-style ending.
Is stoner zydeco an official term? It is now. Another relaxer that moves back and forth between rhythms with a nice feel.
“Madder Rose Interlude”
Your guess is as good as ours here.
“A Smiling Epitaph”
This one’s been opening recent Brotherhood setlists, but on this album it’s awesome as a closer. A multi-part, space-rock tune that sounds like a little amalgamation of all things CRB right now.
To check out tour dates and more information, head to https://chrisrobinsonbrotherhood.com.