AlbumsJune 20, 20243,779 views

Fu Manchu The Return of Tomorrow


The Return of Tomorrow
1. Dehumanize 2. Loch Ness Wrecking Machine 3. Hands Of The Zodiac 4. Haze The Hides 5. Roads Of The Lowly 6. (Time Is) Pulling You Under 7. Destroyin' Light 8. Lifetime Waiting 9. Solar Baptized 10. What I Need 11. The Return Of Tomorrow 12. Liquify 13. High Tide
2024 At The Dojo Records
Our score 7

6/20/2024

It’s been a long time since The Action Is Go, Fu Manchu’s seminal and really, really good groove/stoner rock album from 1997. Lots of us got into them through the inclusion of that album’s track “Evil Eye” on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, which had a licensed soundtrack that influenced perhaps millions of our musical tastes throughout the years whether you admit it or not.

Fu Manchu Concert & Tour History (Updated for 2024) | Concert Archives

Since then, Fu Manchu have been an easy band to root for. They’re consistent, perhaps to a fault, putting out solid release after solid release that never even threatens to reinvent the fuzzy wheel, but that reliability is kind of what makes them endearing. It’s with all that in mind that I was looking forward to The Return Of Tomorrow, their first original LP since 2018’s Clone of the Universe, an album that did actually offer some detours from the band’s usual strain of music.

The Return Of Tomorrow is a double album, but only 49 minutes long so that designation mostly serves to highlight the two stylistic halves the album has: seven tracks of stoned-out, shag-carpeted songs for one half, six more mellow and melodic ones on the other. It’s a two-sided coin that’s unmistakably Fu Manchu, but it’s also a bit more than I can comfortably swallow, or Fu Manchew if you will.

The slow-and-low grit on the first half shows itself in good form - “Roads Of The Lowly” bowls over you with hard and heavy guitars and bass, as does “Destroyin’ Light” which folds in some psychedelic guitar production and effects for a spacy effect. “Hands Of The Zodiac” was the lead single, a good call with the powerful guitars and big hook that has the potential to do some hamster wheel laps in your head with how infectious and simple it is. A solid take on classic, heavier stoner rock.

Side B though is where it’s at. Though calmer overall, it’s replete with melody and good writing decisions. I was pretty enamored with “What I Need” which would be a shoo-in for a classic rock radio banger with the mid-tempo drive it has. Scott Hill’s speak-singing serves the track well and lends it some ominous touches, and the instrumentation drop for the midsection’s dancing ambience is something I’d love to see the band play more with. It’s honestly a beautiful song. The title track almost belongs on side A with how fierce and energetic it is, “Liquify” just sounds like a Clutch song (compliment), but “Solar Baptized” is another standout with its synth leads and spacefaring mood. Vibes all over this side and time mostly well spent.

I was originally gonna give this album a 6, but when it came down to it, I found myself nodding along and having fun with what’s on offer here - a 7 amount of fun. It lacks the range and conciseness of an album like Clone of the Universe or Gigantoid, and the immediacy of their classic The Action Is Go, but it still toys with a lot of genre modalities and amounts to a solid effort with a lot of catchiness. All things considered, the good outweighs the less-than-good here with The Return Of Tomorrow and that’s about all I expect at this point.

Bottom Line: Fu Manchu are legends, statesmen in the fuzzy rock game and The Return Of Tomorrow is just as good an example as many of their numerous other projects from the last 30+ years. It’s a bit long and not every song hits like it should, but the highs are indeed high, at least medical-grade if I do say so. An effort worth a few spins for sure.
 


9 comments

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Zortslob 34 days ago

Gu Manchu

anonymous 34 days ago

"Fu manchew"? holy f*ck just stop dickhead. Some things are worth shutting the f*ck up about. Even if you actually dig this album, you suck. Leave these legends alone

anonymous 33 days ago

This review is absolute dogshit. Also, this album deserves an 8, without question.

anonymous 33 days ago

Not better than Zulu.

anonymous 33 days ago

Don't listen to these jerkoffs in the comments, I like the review.

anonymous 33 days ago

Chu mangoo

anonymous 31 days ago

"Don't listen to these jerkoffs in the comments, I like the review" Ok Eliot

anonymous 31 days ago

Eliot spells his name like a transgender.

anonymous 30 days ago

needs more white guys