Review

After a number of 45 inch singles and EPs, SoCal stone rockers Fu Manchu inaugurated their career properly with 1994's No One Rides for Free, a solid collection of groove-laden tunes that would establish a formula the band would hardly touch for years to come. Produced by then-Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork (who would officially join the band three years later), this is a confident debut from the get go. After racing through opener "Time to Fly," they unleash their first classic in "Ojo Rojo," whose lyrics about hot rods and drag racing would become a band trademark. This recurring theme pervades many of the album's other highlights, including "Superbird" and "Mega-Bumpers." By comparison, the soft acoustic guitar strumming of "Free and Easy (Summer Girls)" remains a career anomaly -- though an interesting one at that. Ironically, No One Rides for Free would remain the only worthwhile Fu Manchu album for many years to come, as subsequent efforts failed to yield any truly memorable tracks, no thanks to their often non-existent choruses and nonsensical lyrics. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi

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