Since its inception somewhere around the early ’90s, Fu Manchu has delivered quality variations of the same loud guitar formula: King of The Road, The Action is Go and California Crossing featured more laid-back, psych grooves, In Search Of… and Eatin’ Dust veered toward metal, and We Must Obey more-or-less approximated hardcore. The raison d’etree of all the aforementioned discs was a simple and laudable one – to rock the fuck out in a way that was totally cool. Fu Manchu sang about Camaros, dirtbikes, surfboards and gigantic dinosaurs because hey, those are cool things that stoned adolescent males think about when they’re not thinking about beer, giant bongs, X-Treme Nacho Cheese Doritos and giant, gRravity-defying, silicone-enhanced breasts (perhaps also cool things – depending upon your orientation and/or aesthetic sense, that is).
Then the music journos came along to fuck up everything with the faux genre, “stoner rock.” Hey, we’ve gotta put a tag on everything.
The brand spanking new Gigantiod corrals all the aforementioned psych, metal and hardcore elements into a monolithic entity that mostly works. Gigantoid is a bit heavier that the bulk of Fu Manchu’s oeuvre, and that’s A-OK. The problems ensue when the band tarries too long in the slower, more fuzzed out psych regions. Sure, mining a slow, stretched-out riff has its merits. But the band gets mired in the protozoan bongwater of Jam Land a little too often, and it gets a wee bit boring. I’m sure it was cool to play this stuff, but the extended guitar wankery gets tedious at times – and this assessment is coming from a guy who loves guitar solos.
So the burning question is: is Fu Manchu A.) “stoner rock”, B.) heavy metal, C.) hardcore, D.) psychedelia, or E.) all of the above? The answer, my friends, is a resounding E. And hence, the hard rock amalgam that is Gigantoid receives an A-. The album is all good fun, just sometimes a bit too much fun. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?
[At the Dojo]