Monday, 21 July 2014

John Garcia - S/T (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/7/2014
Label: Napalm Records

John  Garcia- ‘John Garcia’ CD/DD/LP track listing:
1. My Mind 04:01
2. Rolling Stoned (Black Mastiff Cover) 04:14
3. Flower 04:04
4. The Blvd 04:40
5. 5000 Miles 03:42
6. Confusion 03:38
7. His Bullets' Energy 04:48
8. Argleben 05:18
9. Saddleback 02:43
10. All these Walls 03:04
11. Her Bullets' Energy 04:40


KYUSS, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano, VISTA CHINO - whatever John Garcia had a hand in turned immediately to success. The 43 -year-old always knew that he wanted create his own style within those bands and established himself as the most distinctive voice of the entire Desert / Stoner Rock scene.

With VISTA CHINO, Garcia makes music very close to his KYUSS roots, but on his self-titled solo album he also ventures out with some experiments and convinces all along the line. This record is full of first-class, catchy rock numbers that commute equally between Classic Rock and concise Stoner elements.

Once you’ve made contact and started ingesting the tracks 'My Mind' or '5000 Miles', you will see this album is spreading like an infection to the body and one is happy to be involved in the short and crisp ‘Saddleback’ or  'Confusion', which is strongly rooted in Blues. 'Her Bullets Energy' is the next ultra-bouncer on the record, with the legendary Robby Krieger (THE DOORS) on the guitar. John Garcia has delivered a multi-faceted and extremely intense solo album that will stir up more dust than a sandstorm in the California desert.

Danko Jones, Tom Brayton, Mark Diamond and also Garcia's old cohort of KYUSS Nick Oliveri show up as guest musicians to round out this solo masterpiece. 


John Garcia is a man who doesn't really need any introduction, so suffice it to say that he returns here with a set of solo tunes that are just about perfect for the current heat wave and, indeed, perfect for anyone who wants some laid back vibes. Lo-fi, bluesy and soulful, the hallmarks that many love about the man's past ventures are here, but wrapped in a straightforward and old school rock package.

‘My Mind’ is straight ahead catchy- great vocal- and introduces you to the album in fine style. ‘Rolling Stoned’ follows and sounds exactly how you would expect/want from the title. Crank it up, have a good time, relax...

‘Flower’ is a great groove and continues the garage vibe of the release- all boxy drums and scratchy vocals. ‘The BLVD’ has a wonderfully relaxed groove and a good hook (The screw's loose...) which leads into the more aggressive ‘5000 Miles’ (the tempo doesn't lift too much, though). A little like Steve Earle's ‘Six Days On The Road’ in terms of lyrical theme and a great travelling tune with a surprisingly sinister sounding guitar bridge.

‘Confusion’ goes down tempo, all doomy guitars that is lifted by Garcia's bright vocal performance pre-wah pedal usage for a brief bridge. No percussion (well, until the very end), just guitar and voice. An interesting bridge track before ‘His Bullets Energy’ restores the four on the floor groove while bass goes walkabout.

‘Argleben’ is a little quicker and heavier. Nice slow down at the end, too. ‘Saddleback’ is quicker again as the track rolls along effectively. Great riffs are on show here, prior to a bass and drums breakdown. Again, it's a good hook. The material here is all of a type- no huge surprises- but that is one of the record's strengths. You get a mood piece, just right for relaxing and even for having a good time. Things get more excitable again on ‘All These Walls’ but the pace, while energetic is held back enough to nod along to. ‘Her Bullets Energy’ closes the show in languid style- acoustic guitar is the order of the day, accompanied by some basic percussion and Garcia's ever-golden voice.

If you like Kyuss, Vista Chino, QOTSA or indeed Unida,  Fu Manchu etc etc then this album is a must have. If you like laid back rock with a stoner vibe, strong hooks and a winning vocal performance then ditto. If you don't like any of the aforementioned bands or characteristics, I pity you, because you are missing out- so give this one a try anyway. A strong album.

Words by: Richard Maw

This record is available to preorder here and will be available everywhere on 1/8/2014 

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