Words El Jefe.
Photo John Gilhooley.
Fu Manchu. A band who, along with the likes of Nebula, Monster Magnet and Kyuss set the scene for the scores of stoner bands who followed in their wake, and have never themselves dropped a beat with their own output. And with barely a lineup change this millennium, they sound as solid as fuck, too.
With this latest blast of sonic mayhem, Clone Of The Universe, we see Fu Manchu crack open the Holy Riff Bible and write a new chapter. No mean feat for a band who have been cranking out behemoth riffs for over thirty fucking years. Clone is their twelfth album, and is right up there with the classic Fu records like Eatin’ Dust and California Crossing.
So they guys adjusted their fuzzboxes from fuzzy to fuzzier, and hit the ‘record’ button. ‘Intelligent Worship’ is the first cab off the rank, and whilst it has the trademark tone, they’ve seemingly upped the ante with the riffage. Thunderous sounds, and some cool energy. ‘Don’t Panic’ has a similar edge, and a driving rhythm that almost guarantees at least some degree of panic….
‘Slower Than Light’ and ‘Nowhere To Run’ are both tinged with some moody dynamics, as well as the outrageous trademark fuzz.
The title track rocks out nicely, and lubes the chute for….
The twenty-minute opus, ‘Il Mostro Atomico’, which winds up Clone Of The Universe, was (according to the legend) recorded in one take, with some overdubs to add some dazzle done by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson. Much like the glitter on a strippers’ tits, it probably doesn’t need it, but it looks the shit anyway! Cool jam-out too.
Fu Manchu are yet another band who deserve way more commercial success than they will probably ever achieve, but what the fuck. The mainstream deserves the swill they feed on anyway. Those of us with class will just have to be content with the new Fu LP, and any other of the myriad of excellent bands paving the sonic footpath. Clone Of The Universe will keep the bands’ longtime fans more than happy, and should also win ‘em a bunch of new disciples too.