By Gruesome Greg
Fu Manchu is often associated with the low-rider, and rightfully so, as no less than four of their ten studio albums have a car on the cover. (Start the Machine features a speedometer, so make that four and a half…) Founding driver Scott Hill and almost-original bass mechanic Brad Davis, who’s been working on this ride for fifteen years now, have souped ‘er up over the years, replacing such stoner rock luminaries as Eddie Glass, Ruben Romano and Brant Bjork with more modern components. Bob Balch came on board in ’97 and Scott Reeder’s percussive engine was installed in ’04. (No, not that Scott Reeder, the one who plays drums…)
What we have is a well-oiled machine, not unlike a muscle car. It runs smooth in spite of its age due to the addition of non-original parts. Signs of Infinite Power is a brisk 35 minute ride, with all the classic Fu features: distorted guitars, heavy low end, Hill’s laid back vocals and simplistic, if a tad strange, lyrical compositions (“Steel.Beast.Defeated.”, “Webfoot Witch Hat”, et al…). While this machine occasionally revs its engine, it prefers to cruise along at a leisurely pace, letting you admire its vintage beauty as it passes you by. Released in October, a tad late for its model year, this beast will really turn heads when it lets its top down in the summer time (as the band presumably embarks on another tour). Good value for its price, although it’s not so great on miles-per-listen.