CD Review: John Garcia – John Garcia

CD Review: John Garcia – John Garcia
Napalm Records
All Access Rating: B+

John Garcia - John Garcia 2014
The name John Garcia still carries a lot of weight among glazed-over dwellers of the desert/stoner metal community. People there will never forget what he did with the archetypal Kyuss, having blazed rough trails through the most unforgiving of sonic terrain.

There are cults that would kill for the kind of devotion Garcia and the rest of Kyuss have inspired. And although Josh Homme has gone on to bigger and better things with Queens Of The Stone Age, his Kyuss co-founder has not so quietly built an impressive and remarkably consistent catalog of recordings with projects such as Slo-Burn, Unida, Hermano and, most recently, Vista Chino.

That arid, distant voice of his a dagger cutting straight through the sonic haze, vague menace and hypnotic pull of a sub-genre he helped establish, Garcia goes the lone-wolf route on this his first solo album, out on Napalm Records. Leaner and more clean-shaven than other works his name's been attached to, although some of the fuzz remains, John Garcia is a record with a strong pulse and an undeniable affinity for the brawny riffs and catchy hooks of '70s classic rock, as "5000 Miles" sounds like ZZ Top trying to swim its way out of quicksand and the steely, acoustically sketched closer "Her Bullets Energy" reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's brushed folk supplications, with a little Spanish guitar thrown in for good measure.

And while "Argleben," heavy and trance-inducing, is deep-fried in distortion and stuck in great, thick groove ruts – the album is full of them – "My Mind" rides with Steppenwolf into dark skies rumbling with heavy-metal thunder, all the while brandishing guitars wrapped in barbed-wire. Every song on John Garcia is sinister and seductive, sounding mean as hell on the agitated, pounding post-punk engagement "All These Walls." He swims with especially strong currents in the rugged, mid-tempo, swinging hammer "Rolling Stoned," the deliriously infectious "Saddleback" and the spellbinding, serpentine "Flower," as a sense of unease pervades the throbbing "His Bullets Energy," its slashing guitars and unpredictable bass counter melody stalking its prey with murderous intentions and practically begging for a restraining order.

Notwithstanding the sluggish blues of "Confusion" and its equally sedentary "The Blvd," John Garcia crackles with energy and brands its deep, dynamic grooves into your brain. Guests like Danko Jones, Nick Oliveri and Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger – his intricate work can be found on "Her Bullets Energy" – go with Garcia on this vision quest and help him discover his true nature.
– Peter Lindblad

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