Review Summary: Let's go racing.
I love hard rock when it’s done right; when it’s free of pretense, straightforward and rockin’. I love cars too; they go fast and provide confidence to a not so confident individual. Fu Manchu are the musical personification of a car, and this car is fun to drive, let me tell you. It accelerates quickly, and loudly too, it goes around the turns with ease and precision. This is an awesome car. The So-Cal dudes of Fu Manchu have been doing this hard rock thing since the good ol’ year of 1990. This LP, titled “The Action Is Go” was released in 97’; it showcases a veteran bunch of hard rock songwriters just doing their thing. Not much else to say for this release other than how good it is and believe me, this is some good ***.
Fu Manchu has a sound characterized by a macho looking dude with a mullet, aviator shades and some thick sideburns driving a blue Chevelle smoking 5 cigars at once while going 120 on the highway. This is a demonstration of masculinity. These tracks contain riffs that strike pleasure upon the listener with primordial ferocity, and they do it so effortlessly. In addition to being muscular, it’s also smooth and easy to digest; just how an album should be. It’s anything a fan of hard rock would want in an LP; no frills, no ***s given rock.
The material on this LP doesn’t disappoint at all. The album kicks off with “Evil Eye” and might I say this is the single most badass riff I have ever heard? It combines that muscular Kyuss grind with Sabbath riffing making for one hell of a track. That Kyuss groove is possibly due in part to Brant Bjork playing the skins on this release. Mr. Bjork doesn’t do anything flashy really throughout the LP’s runtime but his style and sound from behind the kit is large and in charge. These tracks chug along like a belligerent man at the pub, flipping over tables and waitresses alike, and also flipping the owner off in the process. It’s amazing how much drumming, simple or complex can contribute to a release. “Urethane” trudges along and then nicely gets the *** out of dodge for the cocaine rush of the title track. That Chevelle I mentioned earlier has now morphed into some ridiculous Monster Garage type deal, equipped with machine guns and steel teeth, roaring down the expressway at some ungodly amount of speed. The material on the album isn’t thrown together in anyway; it’s actually a very cohesive affair and that’s usually an advantage if I’m not mistaken.
Usually, this concept would get old after about 5 tracks but with a sound like Fu Manchu’s, it won’t ever be unwelcomed during the listen. Fu Manchu does the hard rock gig for a couple more tracks until making way for “Saturn III”, a 7 minute psychedelic crawl which is a definite highlight of the track list. The guitar solo in this jam is nothing but heroic. The listener is taken on a joyride in a spacecraft, soaring high above the clouds in the most testosterone-charged fashion. After “Saturn III” does its bit, the frenzied closer “Nothing Done” erupts from the speakers and bludgeons the listener to submission closing out the album in a volcanic, mercurial style.
In conclusion, Fu Manchu makes hard rock magic with this one, writing a cohesively fun set of jams for the avid hard rock listener. Though repetitive in spots, there is no way that redundancy makes this adrenaline kick less enjoyable. They turned their amps to 11 and played some badass riffs, that I can appreciate. This isn’t really an album to chill out and relax to, nor an album you listen to when you’re looking for something innovative. This is for those moments of intense energy. I recommend you take this bad boy out on the road; that’s where it’s at its musical height. Gentlemen, start your engines with Fu Manchu.