Out of the ashes of a law suit raises Vista Chino! A brief history - this band came about out of the ashes of an act called 'Kyuss Live!'; this was John Garcia, Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri started playing live in 2010, especially doing old Kyuss numbers. That was until 2012 when they announced that they wanted to record under that name and this did not go well with ex Kyuss members Josh Homme and Scott Reeder who did not like their former band members trading on the old Kyuss name. This is an old argument about control and a court judge ruled in favour of Homme and Reeder. So the band changed their name to Vista Chino and have released 'Peace', their new album. For the record I think Josh Homme has acted like a bit of a dick with his old band mates, but he is the one who has to look in the mirror in the morning. Anyway, let's get on with looking at this album instead of bitching about someone who is not on this album....
Starting with the feedback that is "Good Morning Wasteland" that falls into "Dargona Dragona" which is one of those rifts that would level many other stoner bands. This has that grand riff rumbling that way the Kyuss land mark, and it just makes for a fantastic opening duo for this album which has lots of energy and sets the album off perfectly. Come up after this is "Sweet Remain" that again is that essential stoner rumbling that makes this genre feels alive and brilliant. So far, so good; here is to hoping that it does not become by the numbers for this line-up of giants. But they drop the off-kilter "As You Wish", this give the album a new (albeit familiar direction) that made me realise that they have not lost any of their fire or song writing ability with the passing of years.
"Planets 1&2" is next and with vocals handled by Brant Bjork on here as well as the amazing John Garcia you get that stomp which every person blessed with the gift of hearing should get down on their knees and worship. The break down around the 3 minute mark and solo nailed by Bruno Fevery just sends shivers down my spine. The sound and production by Brant Bjork on this record is phenomenal. Afterward you get "Adara" which has that tribal desert feeling that made everything in their previous band so special, it has the correct mixture of acoustic and electric that you get confused where the lines cross and what becomes what. This album is currently shaping out to be very special indeed.
"Mas Vino" is a minute twenty of bass fun which acts as a breather for you to chill out for a few moments, nothing much else to say, a nice bit of filler if the truth be told. "Dark & Lovely" though, that is a different kettle of fish. This comes out fighting and will not take any prisoners in its mission to make the mind change state. It just keeps on coming and like an oncoming storm you just have to ride it out and it is just perfection for all to hear. It may be dark, but lovely is not the word for this track; feisty, sublime, sleazy....but not lovely. It is brilliant, just pure and simply brilliant. To follow this act you have "Barcelonian", it does not quite do the job if truth be told, but after the last track that would be really hard to do. It is a decent song, just not as good as what just past. Then we come to the lengthy and mesmerising track "Acidize...The Gambling Moose"; this is the album's final track (they are two bonus tracks "Carnation" and "Sunlight At Midnight" - both of which are fantastic, but they are not album proper tracks) and "Acidize..." is just fantastic. I love every moment, change and turn on the thirteen minute plus journey of this song. It ends the main part of the album perfectly.
Now I am a fan of stoner music and this is without being a stoner as well. I find the genre can be a little repetitive, and this album is a very good example of how to make a great album in stoner rock. Of course you wouldn't expect anything else from them; they were in one of the biggest bands that ever came out of the scene. Vista Chino in one album show how to make a near perfect album in a genre that can seem a little closed. If anything can make a point of how much Josh Homme has gone from his original roots (and don't get me wrong, I really love QOTSA), this album is a glaring example of what he had before hand and he is now surrounded by people who will do his every whim; but it is missing a soul in places. I think I know where it is and long may it live. Kyuss is dead - long live Vista Chino!
9 out of ten - Almost perfect...almost
You can purchase the album on Amazon here
You can visit the Vista Chino website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here