I fell in love with John Garcia (“He has great hair”, as a Frenchman said to me at one of his shows recently) when he was fronting the seminal stoner/desert rockers Kyuss back in the day. I’ve since seen him with his new incarnation of the band Vista Chino as well as a re-appearance of his short-lived Unida project, which for me was the pick of the bunch.
So it was quite intriguing to hear that his motivation behind recording a solo album was to get out ideas and tunes that were sometimes lost in the “band” process with these other projects. He’s still got a band playing on this release, maybe they are just doing what they are told though? To the uninitiated there probably isn’t a massive degree of difference between these bands that he’s done anyway, and a lot of fans like me probably appreciate them for sounding in the same vibe.
Ultimately they all have his amazing vocal running through, and on this new album that familiar melodic power is there same as ever. Initially this might strike as the “same old, same old” in a way, but over the course of the album I think there is enough to again mark it out as subtly different. Part of this is a degree more accessibility, dare I say it into the territory of estranged former band mate (probably not “mate”) Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age.
He‘s pulling no punches lyrically though, with dark tales of relationships gone awry etc . There’s good heavy tones through the majority of the tracks to satisfy the stoner fans, lovely fat bass vibes, nice drawn out guitar riffs to savour, sometimes it gets a bit more jangly, and there’s even a ballad-esque acoustic version of one of the tracks to close the album. It’s also interesting to hear how he uses a variety of mixes and effects on his vocals to provide a bit more diversity, a bit of experimentation. But for all it’s polish, it remains true to his canon of material, it’s not that he can do no wrong, but he is just right. On!