Now the dust from the public lawsuit between Kyuss Lives! (John Garcia, Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri) and the remaining ex-Kyuss men Josh Homme and Scott Reeder has died down, the newly named Vista Chino can do what they do best. And damn, do they do it well.
Named after, much like the classic Kyuss album Welcome to Sky Valley, a local street sign; not only does their new moniker put an end to all legal disputes, it also gives them creative and spiritual freedom to write record and tour as they wish. Their freedom shows. Peace sounds like a bunch of guys who are really happy and comfortable playing with one another. There is something in the record’s atmosphere that resonates this feeling, this relief in the ending of the lawsuit and the start of something new. It’s a joy to behold.
Despite the new name, fans will inevitably view this band as the next generation of the Kyuss legacy, and understandably so. New guitarist Bruno Fevery has the chops to live up to and fit into the Josh Homme sized boots that Kyuss’ gunslinger left behind. He is quite simply a riff machine. His blues lead work and double-stops; all played through a sensational, creamy tone hit the spot. His riffs however snarl through a fuzz as gritty as the sandy Palm Springs desert from which they spawned. It strikes the perfect counter balance and is consequently the album’s outstanding highlight.
Furthermore, it is great to hear John Garcia wrap his rasping vocals around some new music, and he does so magnificently. Time, it seems, has served him well. His voice has aged and it appears to almost crackle like an old vinyl, but as with a battered, beloved 12”, those crackles are well cherished.
Sweet Remain and Adara show the band at their full, swaggering best. These are songs that get you moving. Guitar driven, Fevery shows us what he’s capable of once more on these tracks with catchy riffs that sit empathically atop Nick Olveri’s slithering bass lines. It’s such a relief more than anything to hear fantastic music coming from these guys again, thoughts that they would be nothing without Josh Homme’s musicianship are left to dehydrate somewhere way back on the desert road.
Their approach has understandably matured and the eccentricity that coupled itself with the band in their youth has turned into a gentlemen. What we are left with though, are truly beautiful songs with blissful melodies and nuances that will have you returning to the record time and time again.
Don’t worry; this isn’t a record that fizzles out by the end. Not by a long stretch. Album closer Acidize-The Gambling Moose, at 13 minutes is arguably the best track of the album. Full to the brim with killer riffs and oozing with tantalizing hooks, it transports you back to Kyuss’ heyday. Here, they mix the high octane energy of Un Sandpiper and the mellower, psychedelic tinged Freedom Run and are brought up to date to the modern day.
This truly is a stunning album. For those who were and perhaps still are unsure whether this album can live up to the glory of Kyuss, I assure you: you’ll be pleasantly surprised.