We Must Obey
UG Team, on february 20, 2007 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Fu Manchu's songs have been closely tied to the skateboarding and extreme sports community thanks to lyrics dealing with such topics, but it's the music this time around on We Must Obey that should provide the perfect soundtrack for anyone looking to get pumped up for aerials. The 11-track CD is at it's best when it allows little guitar hooks to pop up in random places, keeping what could have been your run-of-the-mill rock songs from being stale. And thanks to a nice variety of tempos used featured on We Must Obey, there is just a pretty effective flow to the songs.
There's a very infectious quality to the guitars that are used by Bob Balch, with a few songs even featuring a descending scale that sounds a bit like Metallica's Seek And Destroy. Balch most specifically uses this element on Shake It Loose, and the hooks really balance out the song when it might get a bit redundant with repeating chord lines. The specific distortion used on Shake It Loose actually has a unique sonic, synthesized quality, an effect that is even heard most memorably on Knew It All Along. All in all, it's the twist on the guitar sound that drives these tracks.
Land Of Giants stands out as one of the best tracks, with its slow tempo and grooving guitar line that makes intermittent appearances throughout the song. The song's position in the CD -- about midway through the songlist -- couldn't be more perfect in terms of offering up a new style to keeps things interesting. There's also a nicely restrained guitar solo that sounds to be using a wah pedal, which perfectly suits Land Of Giants. The band even finishes the CD off with the slower-paced Sensei Vs. Sensei, which has just as much of a finale feel as some faster rock tracks out there.
Frontman Scott Hill never goes for full-on singing, instead going for the same spoken style of The Offspring's Dexter Holland. The style fits the band pretty well, but it's guitarist Balch that adds the much-needed contrast in songs when Hill's vocals tend to sound monotonous. This is not to say that there is not some charisma in Hill's vocals, but We Must Obey hits its peak when Balch releases hook after hook. // 8
Lyrics: While the band has dedicated plenty of songs in the past to activities like skateboarding, the latest CD is not so overt in its lyrics content. In fact, Fu Manchu has a collection of songs that really stray from what you might expect from the band.
There are quite a few songs that are more or less your basic rock lyrics, and that's not a bad thing by any means. An example would be Between The Lines, a song that seems to be directed to someone who has hit hard times. Take your time, you're way too slow; Push them back, no self-control; All by yourself, you're changing your mind. A lot of songs are not overly specific as to the lyrical theme, but it's the music that you'll probably be most focused upon.
In the song Sensei Vs. Sensei, the band opts for simplicity. There are few lyrics in this track, with actually only about 4 lines besides the repeating sensei vs. sensei line that is heard several times. While the lyrics on most of the songs don't really jump out at you, they also never get trite and include some clever ideas, as is the case with Sensei Vs. Sensei. // 7
Overall Impression: It's been said that Fu Manchu are best known for their energetic live show, but the latest CD does show there is more than to the band than just the performances. Thanks to guitarist Bob Balch, there are some memorable guitar hooks that you could easily have running through your head the rest of the day -- in a good way.
Every once in a while the CD does get stuck on a certain chord pattern that keeps the song from going anywhere new, but Balch does tend to step in at the perfect time to keep things fresh. With the addition of some choice guitar effects, expanding lyrical topics, and Brad Davis' driving bass line, Fu Manchu's We Must Obey is an enjoyable listen, even if you're not of the extreme sports kind. // 8
We Must Obey
aenimafist, on october 23, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Fu Manchu have been developing their sound for 12 years up until this album came out. On We Must Obey, the band brings forth a new drummer and they put together some of the best riffs they have evr come up with. The blistering title and opening track We Must Obey comes out at you with a demented-sounding bendy riff at the beginning then turns more traditional and reminiscent of the song California Crossing. Then there's the anthematic battle cry of Let Me Out along with other riffage anthems like Knew It All Along, and the gigantic Hung Out to Dry. Along with these new cuts the band tackles the Cars' Moving In Stereo, just one of their many covers including Godzilla. While We Must Obeyis one of the bands best colections of riffs, it lacks the traditional Fu Manchu sound that is so prominent on California Crossing. // 9
Lyrics: Scott Hill's performance on We Must Obey is one of the best of his career so far and it will be very difficult for him to top. Scott displays his vocal variety and singing talent much more on this record than on albums such as In Search Of... , or Kings of the Road. There are a lot of different vocal sytles Scott uses to convey his feeling sfor whatever on this record such as in Let Me Out. His best performance was still on California Crossing, but We Must Obey marks a high point in the lyrical and vocal career of Mr. Scott Hill. // 10
Overall Impression: Start the Machine is a good album to follow with something like this. Both album are very similar but not so that it feels like you are getting the same thing all over again. This CD explores territory that the band seem to have kind of avoided but the ending result was an excellent record. The top songs are We Must Obey, Hung Out To Dry, Let Me Out, and Knew It All Along. It has been awhile since this album was put out so hopefully we will see a new record from this band in 2009. // 9