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Fu Manchu - Clone of the Universe

Label: At the Dojo
Format: download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/10

Hey, I have a cool 18-minute song for you to check out!
What’s your gut reaction to that statement? Reticence? Dread? Rejection? Enthusiasm? Disinterest? Curiosity? Your answer will probably predict your feelings about “Clone of the Universe,” the 2018 release from frizzy, Fuzzy, Heavy Stoner vets, Fu Manchu (none of whom have ever been Chinese).


“Il Mostro Atomico” is the 18:08 epic centerpiece of the album, featuring no less of a guest appearance than Alex Lifeson of Rush. Alex Lifeson! The song is really quite good, but it feels too damn long; it seems to be three different songs stapled together, with each of the sections stretched out. Granted, the sum is greater than its parts; i.e., if they’d made three different songs, they wouldn’t be as enjoyable as they are together in “Il Mostro Atomico,” but an individual listen is still a bit daunting.
The rest of the album has some misses, but mostly hits, including “Don’t Panic” (nice Sci-Fi reference) and “(I’ve Been) Hexed.” And by “hits,” I mean good songs, not Top 40 singles. This band has never been about hit records or climbing Billboard charts. I think their longtime fans will be pleased, and I think newcomers to Fu Manchu will enjoy it too.

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