Monday 2 June 2014

Fu Manchu - Gigantoid (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 29/4/2014
Label : At The Dojo Recordings

Gigantoid, track listing :

1). Dimension Shifter
2). Invaders On My Back
3). Anxiety Reducer
4). Radio Source Sagittarius
5). Mutant
6). No Warning
7). Evolution Machine
8). Triplanetary
9). The Last Question

The Band :

Scott Hill | Vocals, Guitar
Bob Balch | Guitars
Scott Reeder | Drums
Brad Davis | Bass

Review :

Gigantoid, an album so huge they had to find a bigger title.

So, having chatted with Bob and Reeder while they were recording and mixing this album I had a good feeling about what was to come blasting out of the speakers.

This album really has a lot of different formulas going on, but, the one thing that really dictates the album is the almighty power of the riff. I am not just talking about the guitar riffs; however, they are so fucking good it makes you want to invest your 401 K into a stock called Riffola, courtesy of Mr Hill and my favorite guitar player Mr Bob Balch.

The drums of Scott Reeder and bass of Brad Davis are so tightly interwoven, but also give the album that much room to breathe that everything has a space to shine, and shine this album does.

From ‘Dimension Shifter’s full out tilt to the clean guitar ending that brings into G pen territory which this piece of music should have been sold with the album.

‘Invaders on My Back’ has that classic FU swagger and Hill’s doubling of vocals not just on this track is done, but it is done such reverence. He might be the king of doubling as they are so crisp and concise. It definitely brings me vocally back to older Fu albums which for me was a great audible surprise.

‘Anxiety reducer’, if you are into a great back beat and lush guitar tones, with a touch of sci-fi, then this is the track you want to take to Vegas and get hitched too. A great boogie, head bopping tune that is so right on with the drum and riff.  Following that it takes you on a grooving trip, and then tones of the guitar come on in to take over with a great solo that has wah, creepy fingers and a specific touch that makes me scratch my head as to why this cat is not a household name.

Next up ‘Radio Source Sagittarius’, comes at you with a blistering open and great fill that modern drum festival would tweak over. Great vocal and instrument interplay, then straight into what has made Fu so goddam good, grooving and with such ease and vocals that layer on top like a wonderful sauce on a great sundae. Also, when drums, guitars and Captain of the undertow, Brad Davis roll in, it is straight into everything music.  Solos, drum fills, classic vocals and a great outro of the Ludwig getting a bit roughed up and the Reverend guitar sounding like it just got its airplane license.

Now ‘Mutant’, Davis coming at you, into a switch of pace that frightens you, as it comes out like your weren’t not expecting it. Then back into chill ville, with some ambience, but the riff holds the underneath together until Hill comes in with great vocals which for me throughout this entire work, are my favorite things he has done in a while. That is not too say I am not into the other stuff, this just harkens back for me why I got into the band.

‘No Warning’, classic FU, has everything you could need, great strut, drumming takes the spotlight on this jam. I feel Reeder keeps the groove so loose yet tight that even being a short tune, it packs a Floyd Mayweather jab.

‘Evolution Machine’ has a heavy intro, not in the doom world, but heavy enough guys for dig High on Fire. The dissonant guitars on this, makes the tune and are strictly humming. Classic riff and roll on this beeyatch. Then back into such a solid groove, again encapsulated by the dissonant guitars. Here lies why this band will always be relevant.  On this tune they touch on many influences, which for a music lover is what your acoustical devices are constantly hunting for. This track is a treasure and it can be heard on this fucking CD. I love the solo, but what lies underneath the solo is so thick that it lets it ride into a ferocious state.

‘Triplanetary’ is my second favorite jam on the album. I love Hills vocals on this as the interplay between him and the instruments are super charged. A head bopper with a little sting. It is not a stoner induced bop, but one that will make your drive your rig faster than you probably should.

‘The Last Question’ is my favorite piece on the album. Has such a swagger that your head automatically gets a slight nod in it. The vocals and the riff make this tune. So tight and yet so loose that it brings you into a sort of groove related trance as we kick into the solo and bam, back into such tight and precise vocal. Best guitar tones on the album for me, and that lies not only in amps and pedals, but into the hands of Hill and Balch. Leading into Davis showing why he is so good. It is almost jazzy when he lets it roll on top of a wonderful groove by Reeder. Yet off in a not so far distance is why this album should be accompanied with a G pen as it takes on an outer space vibe, then clean riffing that Wes Montgomery would dig.

Therein lies the substance, so many tones, grooves, low ends, doubling of great vocals, it makes you listen attentively. This is an album that if you are not paying attention, you will listen again and most likely have a new favorite tune as it has similar ‘Fu-ness’ shall we say, but it is really through their own doing.  They have gone out on more of a ledge and they are not worried if they jump as the groove, which would be the net, would gently cradle them.

If you are a fan of Fu Manchu, then this album will make you more of a fan, put simply ‘Gigantoid’ has what the listener wants and needs and that is why we still go to see them and why they are such a big part of what makes rock still a thing. There is nothing processed, no auto fucking tune, just 4 bad motherfuckers laying it down with such firmness and strength that it should be a lesson to the “music world.”

Music when played so genuinely and with such gravitas can make you remember days gone past and why you got into it in the first place. It makes you feel. Whether it is sad, melancholy, tough, spectacular, it is still a feeling. Ask yourself, when is the last time you really listened to an album that hit you in your whole body? Guess what fuckers? This one does and for that, I salute you gentleman for a job really well fucking done.

Eat a peach

Words by : Gaff

You can get it here