Fu Manchu – “Clone Of The Universe” (At The Dojo)
Oh wow man, I remember first hearing the stoner rock of these guys back in the mid 90s thru their album “In Search Of…” which melded punk DIY with southern California sunshine and of course, the grooving stoner riffs that would catapult this band over the next 2 decades into mainstream fame n fortune. “Clone Of The Universe” is the band’s 12th album and I might be going waaaaay out on a limb here, but it sounds pretty much like a modern day version “In Search Of…”! Still with the same line up as I recollect of Scott Hill (vocals, guitar) Bob Balch (Guitars), Brad Davis (Bass) and Scott Reeder (Drums and Percussion), its still as trippy n groovy with laid back vocals and rolling stoner riffs, naturally with lashings of fuzz and wah – yeah, baby!! Whether hitting the warp speed or walking with the woolly mammoths, Fu Manchu’s mastery of the almighty riff remains, and resonates perfectly across the 7 tracks here. From ‘I’ve Been Hexed’ with its wailing guitars and stonehenge riffs, the chopping tempos and multiple vocals immediately draw you in as intergalactic solos race around you and the heaviness wades in and out’ve your mind to the full blown space rock trip of ‘Slower Than Light’, it’s pretty clear that years on, Fu Manchu are still in no rush man. Going to 11 on the amps in the droning noise intensity of ‘Nowhere To Hide’ which contrasts brilliantly with the quieter passages only graced by dark bass rumblings, “Clone Of The Universe” has the same amazing effect on me that “In Search Of…” did 20 years ago. If there been a ‘difference’ then the colossal 18 minute opus ‘IL Mostro Atomico’ (“atomic monster” in Spanish) must be it and certainly ambitious it is – taking up half the record and featuring no less than Alex Lifeson of Rush – on this massive stoner (near) instrumental jam that could lull a dinosaur into a stupor over the course of its 4 sections. Totally rad man! While plenty of veteran bands are content to rest on their well earned laurels, Fu Manchu have cast theirs aside in favour of once again tripping the light fantastic with their generations of fans – and brother, what a cool creation these stoner rock veterans have made.