Vista Chino – [Album]

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Whatever lit the fire under John Garcia, Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork and caused them to make Peace is anyone's guess (Josh Homme issuing a cease and desist order preventing the group from using the Kyuss Lives moniker might have had something to do with it), but there's no way to argue with the results: Peace is the best album by any of the three musicians involved in years. It is stoned, lean desert rock at its best and absolutely recalls the power of albums like Blues for the Red Sun and Welcome To Sky Valley; even if we dare not utter the creator of those albums' name.

Shadows of the past immediately begin to manifest in the album's mix from the moment “Good Morning Wasteland” opens the proceedings and sets the stage for it. Bruno Fevery's robotic guitar and Bjork's ride cymbal-heavy drumming immediately begin to conjure images of desolation and a sprawling, perfectly flat – well – wasteland while Oliveri's bass just sits on the bottom, rolling out a tone which could best be described as inert but compelling. Even just at that, listeners who remember Bjork, Garcia and Oliveri's glory days will begin to feel a familiar pull; but then Garcia opens his mouth – dry from the desert and still spitting a bit of sand – and shows that he has both a few good songs left to sing as well as the pitch and tone to do it.

The way Peace starts is simply exemplary. It recalls all of the things which fans have always loved about the interplay between Garcia, Oliveri and Bjork, and none of the shortcomings that they've been known to expose at the same time too (most of which appeared, for my money, on …And The Circus Leaves Town). It's almost as though the trio needed to have something to prove or needed to be pissed off about something to make it work; and now it does – beautifully – as they get a little angry and a little unhinged and it all pays off.

The unhinged, tightly compressed greatness which powers “Good Morning Wasteland” keeps rolling with very, very few gaffes as Peace continues. Songs like “Dargona Dragona,” “Sweet Remain,” “Adara,” “Mas Vino” and “Barcelonian” all crest on some fine stoner-alt, desert rock vibes of the sort that everyone secretly hoped Vista Chino would be capable of conjuring, but didn't actually want to ask them for. Because of that too, true, it doesn't break a whole lot of new ground for Kyuss fans, but it doesn't need to because no fan ever thought they'd get a taste like this again. That it exists as it does here is elating, and that it's so well done will have fans who waited hopefully for something like it hooked and listening to the albums over and over again.



Peace is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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