Vista Chino - Peace | Review

We can’t talk about Vista Chino and their album 'Peace' without a little history. Drummer Brant Bjork, vocalist John Garcia and bassist Nick Oliveri comprised the band Kyuss with guitarist Josh Homme. Kyuss went on to practically invent, if not, at least define the stoner/desert rock genre. Following Kyuss’ split in ’95 the members carried on with other (high quality) bands. In 2010, Bjork, Garcia and Oliveri started performing under the name Kyuss Lives! with Bruno Fevery taking over the guitarist slot. When the time came to record new material, Vista Chino was born.

If you’re expecting 'Peace' to sound like a Kyuss album you’re not entirely wrong but not entirely right either. While it’s obvious that many of the same personalities participated in this album, Vista Chino stands on its own. By the time intro "Good Morning Wasteland" awakens into “Dargona Dragona” and its instantaneously infectious riffs, the listener is primed for Garcia’s inimitable vocals. The track does what it should, introducing what’s to come with a live, almost raw feel, fuzz-laden, overdriven tones and Fevery’s slick and soulful leads.

Those desert grooves and a red-eyed sensibility are carried throughout the album. The band’s chemistry is incontestable. Shorter tracks like “Sweet Remain” and “Barcelonian” pack a punch and contain just some of the lyrics that may or may not be related to the tensions with former Kyuss members. “They lost their souls/When they lost their way/And we fight to the bone/But the sweet will remain” and “Those days are gone when we slept upon the floor/And the desert was our home…I’m thinking about what you mean to me” suggest that “The war is finally over” (from “Planets 1&2”) and Vista Chino is forging ahead with brilliant results (and Mike Dean of C.O.C. playing bass live).

Garcia exhibits fairly dynamic range, changing up his approach and even lets Bjork take the mic a bit on “Planets”. Oliveri and Bjork lock into those grooves and throw away the key, keeping that rhythm rolling with a swing and shuffle beside Fevery’s impressive guitar work. The more you listen, the deeper the melodies and flowing grooves penetrate to release a constant flow of serotonin.

The wicked trippy and blues-fueled closer “Acidize – The Gambling Moose” sums it up perfectly with the words “I fell from up above/into your arms, my love.” Vista Chino does feel heaven sent, doesn’t it? Kyuss fans rejoice. The band is back together (more or less).

Matt Hinch

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Matt Hinch lives an unassuming life on the backroads outside Forest Mills, Ontario, Canada. He packs in as much metal as he possible can amid factory work, raising three daughters with his wife and working the land. In addition to Scratch the Surface Matt also writes for Hellbound, Ghost Cult Magazine, About Heavy Metal and his own blog, Kingdom of Noise.
Keep up with him on Twitter @MetalMatt_KofN.

1 comment:

  1. I have heard this album way more times already than any of the latest QOTSA albums. Homme ain't got nothing on Vista Chino! The production quality might not be the best seen to date, but man this album is dripping with soul and care.