I’ve always been a believer that certain styles of music should be listened to at loud volumes, and no other genre of music do I believe this to be applicable than “stoner rock”, the genre derived from a world not many have experienced I can assume.
The sound is visceral, something you don’t forget at any point throughout listening to an album with said coined term, this isn’t any different for veteran stoner band Fu Manchu, whose new album “Clone Of The Universe “comes out February 9th on the relatively unheard of At The Dojo Records. If you’re not familiar with this band, they’re considered to be one of the pioneers of the stoner rock movement, being one of the first bands to ease up on the earthquake fuzz of Sludge Punk icons such as The Melvins and early Swans, incorporating a groovier, more free spirited form of rock and writing songs about skateboarding, substances and Psychedelia to a genre that usually possesses a certain dark overtone.
It may come as a little surprise to hear then, that Fu’s new album borders more on an experimental element than a typical riff driven affair, the albums first example of this comes from the second track in “(I’ve been) Hexed” offering the listener a heavier and catchier affair that itches for a repeated listen, for new listeners, this track certainly allows a little spark to keep you close.
The album’s title track boasts a little more of a typical affair, with Fu doing what they do best, adding the pummelling crunch on the two lead guitars and the driving force of the drums and bass to the mix, with frontman Scott Hill offering what appears to be twisted visions of an alien who isn’t what he appears to be to others, something we can all relate to sometimes.
The second example of experimentation comes from the albums fifth piece “Nowhere Left To Hide”, easily the best track on the album, the band all pitches in to a quiet and doom- laden driving piece, given ode to the classic loud and quiet method taken upon by countless other bands in the Alternative label. The song’s lyrics invoke paranoia, forcing you to except your situation and face the thing that you know will eventually get you.
The last instalment of Progressive interest comes from the albums closer, the epic “Il Mostro Atomico” which clocks in at roughly Eighteen minutes in length, although respectfully, that can feel like longer. Whereas expansive long- running Alternative rock marathons can be an albums highlight, the track falls short around the five minute mark, where the same jam becomes layered with Blue Cheer style freeze and veers off into an even quicker experience of Psychedelia.
The song manages to pull through with some of these twists and turns, with Scott Reeder, the bands Drummer, pulling the punches above even the meatiest guitar tones, it rewards perhaps a fresh listener with a first time experience of what a marathon song of Alternative Rock jams can be like, but would recommend patience for this closing track.
The band brings to the table a strong example of true Stoner Metal music and proves to listeners that while other respected artists of this fine craft may have perhaps disintegrated into the Urban legend (Monster Magnet) or moved onto sheer fame unimaginable to bands of the Underground (Queens Of The Stone Age), Fu Manchu is still going strong and respected by many for bringing the desert lights and the generator parties to masses.