Psychedelic meets hard rock
Fu Manchu is back with their 12th studio album, Clone of the Universe. The cover of the album is artwork in itself, with a beautiful psychedelic face peering out at the audience. The songs on the album are also psychedelic in nature, though leaning towards hard rock. Though it may not be the best album that Fu Manchu has created, Clone of the Universe is entertaining and fun, and is a great addition to the band’s impressive repertoire.
The album starts with “Intelligent Worship” and “(I’ve Been) Hexed.” “Intelligent Worship” is a great way to start the album as it begins with a memorable guitar lick. The lines of the song are also memorable, with strong lyrics like, “tell me what you see, something I missed,” driving it forward. “(I’ve Been) Hexed” is a very different song, with a bit more of the psychedelic interests of the band showing through. The vocals are somewhat fuzzy, coming in as if through some static. The song seems to be about being scorned, with the lyrics referring to the speaker being “overlooked” and “pushed aside.” Though maybe not the strongest songs on the album, these songs definitely set the album up for success.
Two other notable songs on the album are “Slower Than Light” and “Nowhere Left To Hide.” Both of these songs have one thing in common, and that is that they both start with a drum roll. Beyond the drum roll, the songs take on very different styles. “Slower Than Light” starts off very slow, and even after it speeds up, the moaning guitar keeps it in a dreamlike state. This song definitely fits the psychedelic vibe that Fu Manchu enjoys creating and it’s arguably one of the strongest songs on the album. “Nowhere Left To Hide” after starting with a drum roll, retains the heavy use of drum throughout the beginning of the song, before the rather unsettling vocals come in. The chorus brings the vocals up to louder volumes, however, leaving behind the creepy feeling that characterizes the start of the song.
The album ends with the self-titled “Clone of the Universe” and “Il Mostro Atomico.” “Clone of the Universe” is the perfect choice to be the name of the album main single, as it’s catchy, fun and beautifully showcases the guitar abilities in the group. “Il Mostro Atomico” on the other hand (which translates to the atomic monster), is the perfect way to end the album. It’s a song of mainly psychedelic instrumentals (with some vocals thrown in), and it doesn’t outlive its entire 18:07 reign. Considering over half the length of the album consists of this song, it definitely earns its place as a solid addition to a great album.
Fu Manchu will be on tour through Europe in March, and then on a U.S. tour in May with stops in Austin, Philadelphia, Boston and Denver among others.