Vista Chino - Peace
Released: September 3rd, 2013
Label: Napalm Records
John Garcia – vocals
Bruno Fevery – guitar
Nick Oliveri – bass
Brant Bjork – drums, percussion, backing vocals, vocals and bass on Planets 1 & 2
Mike Dean – bass on As You Wish
Chris Cochrell – harmonica on the Gambling Moose
Tom Brayton – additional percussion
1. Good Morning Wasteland
2. Dargona Dragona
3. Sweet Remain
4. As You Wish
5. Planets 1 & 2
7. Mas Vino
8. Dark and Lovely
10. Acidize…the Gambling Moose
In this age of bands from the 1990’s reforming to get one last tour in and get one last payday comes Vista Chino, one half (sometimes three quarters) of the reformed Kyuss. Let me get the name out of the way. When I told my friend I was going to see these guys in a few weeks I didn’t say, “dude, I’m going to see Vista Chino”
. I said, “dude, I’m going to see Kyuss”
. And when I describe them to other people it usually goes, “this band that’s basically Kyuss”
. When me and my friends talk about this band we don't refer to them as "Vista Chino"
. They're Kyuss. For one Vista Chino is a stupid name. And more importantly no matter what name they’re going by (Vista Chino, Kyuss Lives!, or Kyuss) and no matter how many lawyers Josh Homme throws around these guys will always be known as Kyuss. Because that's what they are. Just with one very important piece missing.
While the album is good I think my expectations were just way too damn high. Kyuss is still one of my favorite bands and I went into this hoping for Welcome to Sky Valley pt. 2. When I heard the first “single” Dargona Dragona
I was pleasantly surprised too that it had a lot of the same feeling. But unfortunately they put the very best song on the album right at the beginning. After that the album is full of really solid desert rock but nothing exceptional. People will argue that Brant Bjork wrote a lot of Kyuss’ songs. But when you really get into their catalog he only wrote a couple that were essential (Gardenia, Green Machine, 50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up)
). The majority of their catalog was written by…Josh Homme. And that’s what the record is missing. Bruno Fevery is a great guitarist but he doesn’t write the riffs like Homme did and his playing just doesn’t have the feeling that Homme’s did. His tone and riffing is very one-dimensional and it gets old after ten songs.
There are some good songs on here aside from Dargona Dragona
. Sweet Remain
has a really nice poppy, driving beat. Planets 1 & 2
is just generally good. And while I didn’t like it at first Barcelonian
is a pretty good song. Dark and Lovely
has some nice vocals but it never really goes anywhere. Nothing else on the album is overly bad it just does nothing for me. The songs are all just too straightforward for my liking. It lacks that jammy, improvised feel that Kyuss’ albums had. I'll admit that at first I hated it but with each listen I've grown to like it more and more. Will I ever love it as much as ...and the Circus Leaves Town? Very doubtful. But once I get that out of my head it's a very enjoyable record.
I’m very confused over the label that the band released this on. When I think of Napalm Records I think of European Symphonic Metal, not Californian Desert Rock. This is probably the only album Napalm has ever released with a front cover that doesn't have boobs, a dragon or a sword on it. I’m sure there was interest from a lot of labels, how they settled on Napalm Records really baffles me. That this ended up on Napalm Records and not on Ipecac, Southern Lord or one of the many other labels that release stoner/desert rock will always confuse me.
I see this album as one thing; a way to detract people who label the band as nothing more than a Kyuss tribute band. But the fact of the matter is that I doubt more than three songs from this will get played during their live shows. And I really don't want to see most of these songs when I go see them live, I want to hear Kyuss songs that I never got to see when they were around. I strongly doubt that there will be a second album under the Vista Chino name. It’s still a good album, just not an exceptional album. They will always be compared to Kyuss no matter what anyone tries. That will never go away. And this just doesn’t hold a candle to Kyuss.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Best Songs: Dargona Dragona, Sweet Remain, Planets 1 & 2, Barcelonian