When Fu Manchu announced they were signing to Century Media’s rock imprint Liquor And Poker (already home to fuzzed-out CA compatriots Nebula), they also set the date for the release of Hung Out To Dry, a precursor EP to the then- untitled full-length that would become We Must Obey.
Listening to that EP, and the title track thereof, it was plain to see Fu Manchu were bringing the heavy back to their sound. Where their lone effort for DRT Entertainment (2004’s Start The Machine) sought to smooth out the rougher edges in the band’s presentation, We Must Obey brings the fuzz in full force, and sounds louder and more up front than the Fu have in a long, long time.
For the first 12 seconds of the record, I thought I had put the new Napalm Death in the CD player by mistake. But then “We Must Obey” kicked in, and it was readily understood what band frontman Scott Hill was talking about when he said Fu Manchu decided to utilize more of their oldschool hardcore influences for this, their 10th LP. Still imbued with the laidback sensibilities of their SoCal homestead, particularly in the vocals, Fu Manchu are nonetheless a much more aggressive band on tracks like “Shake It Loose” and “Let Me Out” than they have been on past offerings overall.
Other album highlights include a cover of The Cars’ “Moving In Stereo” (you might remember it from Fast Times At Ridgemont High, or if not, you might at least remember Phoebe Cates), the slow, two-ton riffage of album closer “Sensei Vs. Sensei” and the track that whet the appetite in the first place, “Hung Out To Dry.” Consider this your first hard rock must-have for 2007.