Local Wire

Fu Manchu

Fu Manchu's King of the Road was a modern-day stoner-rock classic, kicking off the new millennium with a shit-eating grin that said "Maybe we're joking and maybe we're not, but either way you will be rocked beyond all recognition by the time we're through." And get this: Nearly every song was conceptually linked to the Boogie Vans rocking the album art, from "Hell On Wheels" to "Boogie Van." There is a chance they peaked the day that record hit the streets, but it's a brilliant peak, and they're still out there rocking like there's no today, much less tomorrow. As We Must Obey, their latest effort, illustrates, they've tweaked the formula a bit since then. The sound is heavier, more punishing — closer to something you'd stumble across on Ozzfest's second stage than an eight-track you'd stumble across on the set of That '70s Show, which means they may be best appreciated now by those who threw the devil's horns without a shred of irony while Fu Manchu snorted the thin line between clever and stupid on King of the Road. But when the riffs are as massive as the one that powers "Let Me Out," you won't be missing clever.