"Twenty years or more, we had a plan, To build the finest street ride in the whole damn land."
There could never be any truer statement. California Crossing is as cool and collected as stoner rock/metal can be, as well as perfect driving music for the open roads. Most stoner rock and metal has some sort of laidback vibe to it, whether in the form of smoking your brains out with Sleep's classic Dopesmoker or going on a spaced-out Powertrip with Monster Magnet. That is one of the reasons why it's so great and Fu Manchu is no different, yet they may very well be the epitome of that vibe.
California Crossing is entirely made up of powerful stoned heavy rock/metal, but remaining laidback throughout the 40-minute ride. It's not hard to imagine driving down a desert road, with the only sound being the cool tunes coming from your speakers. It's hard to pick highlights for a near-flawless album, but the driving "Hang On" is certainly one of those. With riffing that sounds like an upbeat version of a fast Black Sabbath tune, and Scott Hill's fun and smooth vocals, this one's a winner. The same can be said about other favorites like "Mongoose", "Squash That Fly", "Downtown in Dogtown", and the title track.
My very favorite though is probably the final track, "The Wasteoid". This mostly upbeat driving record ends with a more stoner-doom instrumental offering, which maintains the core sound of the album while adding a bit more grit. Also, there's a killer drum solo during the bridge before hearing the sole words spoke in a robotic voice, The Wasteoid.
Even if you're nowhere near a desert, there's no need to travel. Fu Manchu's desert rock/metal sound is sure to bring that atmosphere to you. If I just want to relax but still want something heavy, there's nothing better than bands like Fu Manchu, Clutch, and Monster Magnet to deliver on the front. Also, it's just damn good music for any mood, just pay the California Crossing and enjoy the ride. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!