Having always been a massive fan of the Palm Desert rock scene I eagerly anticipated the return of Kyuss in their current incarnation & I wasn't disappointed. These guys have still got it & they've returned with an album displaying all the hallmarks of fantastic stoner rock. Garcia is still a great frontman & Brant Bjork - amazing on drums. I went to see them at Rock City & because of the small audience (as I understand it) they had to downgrade to a smaller venue! This sums up Kyuss/Vista perfectly: an INCREDIBLE band completely unappreciated in their own time! I rated this gig way over QOTSA 2013 @ Wembley & I can't wait for their next album. If you're a desert/stoner rocker then buy this album; I promise it won't leave your player for ages & you can be one of the chosen few to tap into a sound the rest of the world is too stupid to appreciate!
My quick review of PEACE by Vista Chino; it is incredible that in 2013 we are ALLOWED to have such great, anthemic albums. After the band was banned from existing as Kyuss (seriously Josh Homme), and Nick Olivieri left, I thought we would have another wavering Garcia project. Good news for Kyuss fans is that this is better - actually it is a logical progression and where Kyuss would have been now had it never ceased to exist - best case scenario. Whatever happened in the meantime, this is a total triumph. What is the last time you have had goosebumps while smiling? Almost reads as a diagnosis for the affective inversion, but intro to Planets is shamelessly borrowing from Green Machine in the opening riff, only to dump you down the Arizona-deep abyss of much-emulated but never quite achieved goodness of Kyuss stonerism. 2 minutes into the track, you will have forgotten all about the Green Machine and will have been transported into the Garcia/Bjork universe. It is almost incredible how a single guitarist (with many overdubs) lends clarity to what is still superbly, if not even more trippy soundscape. To the stoner rock fans, the previous works were already impeccable, but Peace brings another level of clarity, stability and feels like the band is united on a mission. There is probably no better recommendation for a stoner album than the fact that the listener loses any and all sense of time - not just the grasp of the passage of time but the entire 4th dimension. And I have not lit up in at least 15 years. The "humble" guitar/amp combo without any bells and whistles still has so much to offer - the Belgian newcomer guitarist Bruno Fevery has obviously spent his life studying this sound in great detail, and offers his clear classical influence on "Acidize", only to seamlessly and deliciously thrust us back down that desert rabbit hole. He is by far (for me) the best ever stoner rock guitarist on a recording. Maybe the fact that he is the only one helps in bringing some of that clarity, but there is no denying he dominates what is through and through a doctorate in guitar based rock recording. It is the first time ever that I feel Garcia and Bjork are better off not using the Kyuss name. This is seriously a better record for 2013 than I feel Kyuss could have made if they still existed. I was never much the one to snub Garcias works, and both Unida and Hermano were sadly underrated, great bands. I like Vista Chino (sic) a lot. If you like rock, I seriously doubt you will find anything better to put on your turntable this year.
Kyuss being such a touchstone for so many people, a few years back I was delighted to hear that the then touring Kyuss Lives! intended to record new material, but was concerned that their monolithic past would weigh down the perception of any new music. The lawsuit that followed, as petty as it was, that forced the name change to Vista Chino came, to my mind, as a blessing in disguise in that it reinforces the idea of a fresh start, and a hell of a fresh start it is. The album opens after some atmospherics with Dragona Dragona and Sweet Remain, a brace of songs that reintroduce John Garcia as one of the finest rock vocalists to never truly get his due. The music here is hard hitting,driven along by a signature Brant Bjork clatter and layered with rumble and fuzz from Bruno Fevery akin to something off of Coping With The Urban Coyote and by the end of track three any long term fans of the personel involved or the genre itself will have a smile on their faces. Track four marks where things change up and you really hear Nick Oliveri's bass turned up, pushing you into an almost arabian flavoured trance. The track has a hook that's not so obvious and you realise that the album doesn't just exist to preach to the converted. Next comes the Green Machine riff on Planets 1 which has lead vocals from Bjork, in itself something which helps to change up the pace and when Garcia comes in for Planets 2 you feel like he's been given a grand introduction. Next come four songs which all in their own way update the old formula, bringing them in line with their more contemporary copyists and yet somehow going further, you can hear traces of Witchcraft, Spiritual Beggars and Truckfighters and you realise that perhaps this is the record that the original band could quite easily have put out as a follow up to ...And the circus leaves town, being as they were then on a trajectory of evolved musicianship that saw them a different band from the one that defined a genre and for some a generation with Blues for the Red Sun. This standard edition closes with the 13 minute epic "Acidize...the gambling moose",building from a ghostly, echoey fuzz riff, through the band at their most radio friendly anthemic as they are when Garcia goes falcetto, through a time signature shift or three to a desert blues skronk, ending in a Skynyrd riff getting slower and slower to it's final collapse. Though the two tracks that follow on the slightly expanded edition are fine songs, they disrupt the continuity and the record should end here. Fans of this band are probably going to want the long form album experience and I couldn't recommend the journey this album takes you on any higher, wonderful work.
Well worth purchasing if you are a fan of Kyuss, this seems to be where they continue. Some top notch tunes and Garcia's voice sounds great, the guitar sounds like Sky Valley/Circus Leaves Town era - fuzzy and rocking, but with some original touches and not just blindly following the Kyuss blueprint. Bjork's drums are great too and there is of course the nice low end. Well worth a listen
This album is up there with the best stoner rock/metal offerings of all time. John Garcia is a genius. Gambling Moose is reminiscent of early Robert Plant. The guitar work on the final bonus track is sensational. If you are looking to get into this genre this is the album for you.
Now this album is an exceptional piece of work!!! From start to finish the vocals, drumming and guitar are all monumental!!! If you are a lover of rock music and looking for something fresh, different & very much unique then this album and this group provide all of the above! John Garcia & Co surely have pulled the rabbit out the hat on this album. My only regret is that I was I had discovered this album sooner and now hoping and praying that Vista Chino reform so they can again enrich us with their musical talents?!?! Sheer brilliance and in a class of their own!!!!