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Fu Manchu “The Return Of Tomorrow” Album Review by Brett Olsen

FU MANCHU band members

In an era where the soundscape of music shifts with the tide and genres intermingle with ease, Fu Manchuemerges yet again as a monolithic presence within the stoner rock realm. Their latest labor of sonic craftsmanship, The Return Of Tomorrow, does more than merely add to already impressive discography; it boldly carves a new milestone. This 14th outing embarks on an ambitious journey as the group’s inaugural double album endeavor, encapsulating the quintessence of Fu Manchu’s enduring appeal while exploring new auditory landscapes.

The Return Of Tomorrow grips the listener from the get-go, offering a compelling juxtaposition of the band’s signature heavy, fuzz-infused riffs against a backdrop of more mellow, psychedelic ambiances. The album is distinctly divided into two LPs, each side presenting a facet of the band’s musical prowess. The first half delivers the classic Fu Manchu sound with tracks like “Hands Of The Zodiac” and “Loch Ness Wrecking Machine”, where Scott Hill’s guitar and lead vocals dominate, supported by Brad Davis’ powerful bass lines and backing vocals. These tracks are quintessentially Fu Manchu: energetic, catchy, and loaded with riffs that stick.

On the flip side, tracks such as “Solar Baptized” and the titular “The Return Of Tomorrow” signal a shift towards introspective and expansive sonic territories. Here, Bob Balch’s guitar talents shine, weaving together melodies that blend seamlessly with Hill’s vocals to create a more atmospheric experience. Scott Reeder’s drumming and backing vocals enrich the sound, providing a rhythmic foundation that adds depth and complexity to the slower-paced, contemplative second half of the album.

Despite the ambition behind The Return Of Tomorrow, the journey across its two distinct landscapes isn’t without its challenges. The shift from the vigorous intensity of the first LP to the tranquil explorations of the second can feel stark, presenting a contrast that, while intriguing, occasionally disrupts the album’s overall cohesiveness.

Yet, these moments of dissonance are minor when viewed against the broad canvas of Fu Manchu’s achievements with this record. The undeniable musicianship of HillDavisBalch, and Reeder is evident throughout, as they blend their skills to craft an album that is at once familiar to long-time followers and welcoming to newcomers. Their dedication to creating an immersive listening experience is clear, and although The Return Of Tomorrow represents a daring venture into new realms, it remains undeniably rooted in the band’s foundational sound.

Fu Manchu’s The Return Of Tomorrow stands as a testament to their evolution, capturing the juxtaposition of fiery intensity and serene depth within the double album framework. It’s an ambitious undertaking that largely succeeds, marked slightly by moments where its audacious scope feels jarring. Regardless, it’s a compelling chapter in the Fu Manchu saga, earning a well-deserved 8 out of 10.

The album showcases Fu Manchu‘s unbridled passion for their craft and an invitation to listeners to experience the depth of their musical journey. It’s reflective of a band not content to rest on their laurels but eager to push boundaries and explore new horizons.

FU MANCHU Album cover

TRACKLIST:
Dehumanize 3:16
Loch Ness Wrecking Machine 3:13
Hands Of The Zodiac 3:47
Haze The Hides 3:28
Roads Of The Lowly 3:43
(Time Is) Pulling You Under 2:07
Destroyin’ Light 4:02
Lifetime Waiting 4:18
Solar Baptized 5:50
What I Need 5:46
The Return Of Tomorrow 3:22
Liquify 3:39
High Tide 2:51

Lineup:
Scott Hill
Brad Davis
Bob Balch
Scott Reeder

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