California Crossing review by Fu Manchu

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  • Released: Oct 23, 2001
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (4 votes)
Fu Manchu: California Crossing

Sound — 7
Being a long time Fu Manchu fan, I first got this album when it came out. I can recall being very disappointed with it. I've dug it out recently and revised my opinion, it's actually a really killer album. What it lacks though, is the trademark Fu Manchu fuzz tone that makes their other albums so perfect. The story goes that the band had all their gear stolen, including their fuzz pedals. In the studio they ended up using Dan Armstrong transparent guitars into cranked Marshall amplifiers. It makes for a cool sound, but it's not quite up there with the band's best work. The drum sound kicks a lot of ass, and the bass and vocals are nice and balanced - you can hear everything in the mix, it's certainly a very professionally recorded album.

Lyrics — 9
This album, like all Fu Manchu albums, features fairly spare and often monotone vocals. The lyrics never veer far away from the topics of cars and the californian summer. What else is there to say about this? None of this is not really meant as a criticism, because quite frankly I think if you're listening to Fu Manchu expecting deeply introspective poetry or superhuman vocal gymnastics then the problem is with you and not with the music. The lyrics and vocal delivery are perfectly suited to the songs.

Overall Impression — 8
These are some really cool songs. The band lays out killer riffs and grooves. They repeat the song "Mongoose", originally from the band's now deleted Eatin' Dust EP, although it's not quite as good as the band's original version. The songs "ampin" and "squash that fly" are probably the strongest on the album. There are no real weak songs on the album though, the whole disc has catchy hooks from start to finish, with killer lead breaks and awesome hooks. Overall, this is a great album, but not the band's greatest. For somebody who is yet to own anything from this band, I would suggest starting with "King of the Road" or "The Action is Go". If you already have those two though, this is definitely a very solid purchase.

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