Album review: Fu Manchu – The Return Of Tomorrow

Legendary Californian stoner-rockers Fu Manchu head back into the haze for fuzztastic 14th album The Return Of Tomorrow…

Album review: Fu Manchu – The Return Of Tomorrow
Sam Law

Time passes differently for Fu Manchu. In 1994, the Orange County icons announced themselves boldly with smoke-stained debut No One Rides For Free, distilling into sound the sensation of dropping some serious hallucinogens and heading out to rev engines under endless desert skies. Three decades down the line, their sun-beaten muscle cars, rumbling choppers and signature sci-fi storytelling might have a few (thousand) more miles on the clock, but the blend of sand-rattling high octane and head-spinning psychedelia remains as intoxicating now as it was back then.

Conceived as a classic old-school vinyl listening experience, daring double album The Return Of Tomorrow is an intriguing attempt at splitting those core elements of their sound. From gleefully overdriven opener Dehumanize to mind-bending standout Destroyin’ Light, the first seven songs are all about layering on the heavyweight fizz. Then from laconic stomper Lifetime Waiting to the trippy space-jam of instrumental closer High Tide, the last six launch listeners into another dimension.

Characteristically, the delineation between the two halves is a little fuzzy. Absolute bangers like the exceptionally-titled Loch Ness Wrecking Machine and Roads Of The Lowly do kickstart proceedings with the force of a stick of dynamite up the exhaust pipe, but there’s plenty of bite about second-half highlights like Solar Baptised and the swaggering title-track, too. Ultimately, that’s not really a problem. Six years since their last full-length release, this is the sound of one of desert rock’s greatest bands digging deep – and delivering all the groovy brilliance we’ve come to expect.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Queens Of The Stone Age

The Return Of Tomorrow is out on June 14 via At The Dojo Records

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