Monday, 23 September 2013
Vista Chino - Peace (album review)
But the legal prompting of the name-change may have been the best thing for this band and taking it as its own thing, the music, and yes the guitar parts as well, are actually quite outstanding even within a genre absolutely overflowing with talented and unique musicians who have picked up where Kyuss left off. WIth a situation like that you'd think there'd be no room left for a band such as this left to explore, but you'd be wrong.
First off, new guy Fevery does his best Homme interpretation and actually pulls it off with a great measure of skill. Instead of taking the feel of a Homme Kyuss riff and going from there, Fevery cranks the fuzz up to 11 and feels his way around, much in the same way as his predecessor, but he does it in his own way. This should be fairly obvious. "Of course he did it in his own way, how could he not do it in his own way?" Well, I have, and I'm sure that you have, heard too many guitarists who try to sound like Homme. Fevery doesn't try to sound like Homme. What comes across is the sense that the new buck uses some of the same starting points while setting riff to tape. It's a feel thing, not an intellectual thing.
Garcia, Bjork and (now departed) bassist Nick Oliveri are in fine, latter-day form. It's interesting that Garcia sings in his clean Unida style rather than the gruff growl remembered from 'Blues for the Red Sun', which part of me was hoping he'd get back to, even though that was what initially turned me off of the band when I first heard the album some 15 years ago. At the time, I thought Garcia's vocals detracted from the band and made the band sound amateurish. Of course, once the taste was acquired, it certainly added to the atmosphere the band was always drowning in. I was a stupid kid, what did I know?
As mentioned earlier, fans of the original band seem to be split on this album, but for those without a rooting interest or who liked Kyuss but wasn't married to them, ought to be pleasantly surprised by the potency of Vista Chino. Many a sonic dreamscape is explored and there's a definite and familiar looseness to the development of the songs, sort of like taking all the rigid material out of the jelly of the songs so that they flow from one idea to the next like blobs while maintaining a loose outline. The thing is most of the ideas which flow by are terrific, if not fully developed and mostly brand new. Those same casual fans will probably groove along to "As You Wish", "Planets 1 & 2", "Dargona Dragona" and the first bit of the 13 minute album closing epic "Acidize ... The Gambling Moose" or actually, all of it. Kyuss fan or not, these tracks should put a smile on your face, they are full of fire, fuzz and fury. Many of these songs have a "Green Machine" feel to them, at least at first, but soon spin off into their own freaking orbits, man.
I would rate 'Peace' as one of the best "big-name" releases of the past couple years, it's more of a debut than a comeback and if you keep that in mind, the album should speak to you and tickle your fuzzy bone.
The band recently blew through my town and there's still time to catch them on the last leg of their North American tour. They're going to be in Quebec City, Ottawa, New York, Philadelphia and Columbus over the next week, check the band's facebook for details.
Highlights include: "Dargona Dragona" and "As You Wish"
1). Good Morning Wasteland (0:59)
2). Dargona Dragona (4:48)
3). Sweet Remain (3:11)
4). As You Wish (5:01)
5). Planets 1&2 (6:32)
6). Adara (4:40)
7). Mas Vino (1:26)
8). Dark and Lovely (6:15)
9). Barcelonian (3:31)
10). Acidize ... the Gambling Moose (13:01)
11). Carnation (4:14)
12). Sunlight at Midnight (3:49)
Total Run Time: 57:22
John Garcia (Vocals)
Brant Bjork (Drums)
Bruno Fevery (Guitar)
Nick Oliveri (Bass on the 'Peace' record)