California Crossing, Fu Manchu Mammoth

BY ROB BRODE
Daily Arts Writer
Published January 29, 2002

Those no good long hairs are up to it again with their greasy brand of dirty stoner guitar rock. Actually, not all of Fu Manchu"s members sport long hair, and not even one of them sports a Fu Manchu but they all know how to make you tap your foot, raise one clenched fist in the air and bang your head a la Beavis and Butthead. The Fus owe as much to Black Sabbath as they do to the vehicles they drive, or wish they could drive.

Paul Wong
Shut up and listen to my order!<br><br>Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

In Sabbath style, the axes blaze but in a noticeably different way than previous Fu discs. Extraneous fuzz has been shaved off to cram more crunch into each track but make no mistake, guitars still roar and push forward at full throttle with the incalculable horsepower of the vehicles they sing about.

The CD explodes with a refreshing blast of good ole" honest to goodness guitar driven rock: mid tempo, chunky and percussive in "Separate Kingdom." The vocals (half spoken, half sung) give the feel of a very well rehearsed garage band with a wholly irreverent swagger. The band pounds its chest in macho juvenility on "Mongoose" a song about riding BMX bikes. "The story lies behind / the mongoose flies oh my / Out on the streets they ride / the mongoose flies on by." Rapid fire machine gun rounds shoot out of Brant Bjork"s snare drum, mowing down listeners on the album"s title track "California Crossing".

California Crossing is a soundtrack for everything that comprises a lazy Southern California day. From convertibles to bikini clad women, it"s the party atmosphere that makes a California summer day seem like a dream to Michigan residents immersed in bleary winter.

Grade: B-