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The Action Is Go
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Performer Notes
  • Fu Manchu: Scott Hill (vocals, guitar); Bob Balch (guitar); Brad Davis (bass); Brant Bjork (drums).
  • Not that it's unique, yet even with half the band changed from the last time around, the twin-riff action that kicks off "Evil Eye," and The Action Is Go! as a whole, sounds like nobody else but Fu Manchu, somehow. Punk energy, classic rock drive, psychedelic crunch, and heavy-ass grind all at once -- really, is anything more needed? From there the new lineup proceeds to kick ass and take names in its own way -- music to shake one's very long hair to while cranking it up and driving around. Hill's strength as a vocalist has long been that he doesn't sound like a deep, bellowing yahoo, but that nutty kid down the block who knows how to party anyway. The Action Is Go! lets him demonstrate that in spades, not to mention his guitar abilities as well as Balch's lead soloing. He and Bjork make perfect recruits for Fu Manchu -- the one pours out the heavy, never dull riffing, the other knows how to lay down some grooves and slam it out when needed in equal measure. Check out the extended zone-outs on "Burning Road" and "Trackside Hoax" to see how both can play it calm when needed for totally cranking up. Another smart touch was getting J. Yuenger, ex-White Zombie guitarist, as producer -- he balances a touch more clarity in the mix with full-bodied charge, not to mention playing a variety of additional keyboards and goodies. Unsubtle hints and homages to the '70s puree of influences crop up throughout -- Bjork's funky breaks on "Urethane" will have many humming War's "Lowrider" to themselves, and for good reason. All this, a cover of SSD's hardcore classic "Nothing Done," and a great Glen E. Friedman skateboard photo from 1977 on the front -- sounds like Southern California from here. ~ Ned Raggett
Professional Reviews
Entertainment Weekly (11/07/97, p.87) - "Invoking the legendary thunder of Blue Cheer as well as the clanging cowbell boogie of Mountain, this Santa Monica quartet creates a near-perfect facsimile of circa-'71 heavy rock....the music's sheer goonish density should strike a chord in the hearts of rock-addled mall rats across America." - Rating: A-

Q (12/99, p.156) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...these cartoon meditations about Cars, girls and science fiction are delivered with a corrosive venom that makes Nirvana sound like a prissy boy band....[packs] an enjoyably primordial and visceral rock thrill."
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