After a bit of a break from albums, not counting the Return to Earth singles compilation, Fu Manchu fully fired up and took off again with King of the Road, an album that doesn't so much follow on from The Action Is Go as flat out continue it. Hill has a touch more bite to his vocals this time around, but otherwise there's little to differentiate the two records -- and that's very much meant as a compliment. With plenty of touring and other things under their belts, the lineup has fully jelled and sounds it, Bjork's bad-ass drumming (and occasional cowbells, of course) and Balch's insane lead guitar crunch possibly even better than ever. Together it's all one megariff and nasty, slamming rhythm after another, and face it, anyone expecting anything else from Fu Manchu really needs to find another band. Joe Barresi co-produces with the band, and while there's no extra keyboard/organ weirdness this time around, it hardly matters. In as much as there's a theme to King of the Road beyond the basics of driving, drugs, and that demon rock & roll, it's driving -- there's a reason why the cover and internal art features a slew of great '70s-era photos from a massive van rally. The one shot of the fully leather-covered interior of one mobile love nest, complete with black curtains, about says it all. Then there's the megachugging title track ("King of the road says you move too slow!"), "Hell on Wheels," "Boogie Van," and so forth -- call it a concept album that doesn't waste time with elves and yogis. As with the last album, a punk/new wave nugget gets the cover treatment here -- none other than Devo's "Freedom of Choice." Needless to say, now it sounds just like a Fu Manchu original.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett