Vista Chino


Written by: BV on 20/08/2013 16:37:53

Vista Chino have, if anything, had a quite curious start to their career under this particular moniker as the conditions under which these former Kyuss members have reunited have probably been far from ideal. What essentially began as a sort of Kyuss revival in the form of the John Garcia-fronted ‘Garcia Plays Kyuss’ outfit at the 2010 edition of the legendary Roadburn festival and then, over time, evolved into tours with the former Kyuss bassist Nick Oliveri and drummer Brant Bjork - along with guitarist Bruno Fevery under the moniker Kyuss Lives!, Vista Chino became Vista Chino as a direct result of the lawsuit that former Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme and bassist Scott Reeder had filed – effectively keeping Kyuss Lives! from recording material under that specific name. In light of that particular information one could easily assume that the album title, “Peace”, is as much an offering as it is a desire for said peace.

Following the Kyuss legacy and trying to utilize it to create new material is no laughing matter and not an easy task at all. However, despite a slightly mixed outcome it would only be fair to say that songs like “Sweet Remain”, in all their fuzzy goodness, are decent examples of songwriting that resembles the desert rock approach of Kyuss while never leaning so persistently on the style that a rip-off is inevitable. Indeed, the grooves displayed in “Planets 1 & 2” are reminiscent of the approach Kyuss pioneered but no more so than what one has come to expect for a release of this genre, constantly showing gentle nods of respect in the general direction of their own heritage.

Musically speaking there is not much finger-pointing to be done, save for noting that these tracks do seem to occasionally hint a bit too much in the general direction of Kyuss, such as on the tracks “Dark and Lovely” and “Barcelonian” where the general vibe and the soundscape virtually oozes of a Kyuss knockoff or, perhaps more fitting, a half-baked Kyuss reunion album. However, seeing as the guitar work of Bruno Fevery essentially comes off as striking, concise and most of all authentic within these confines – especially so on the otherwise relatively uninteresting track “Dargona Dragona”, one could easily argue that such resemblances are, to some extent, invalid. The true strength however, and one of the reasons that this debut by Vista Chino comes off as more than a half-baked revitalization attempt is the introduction of the shared vocal duties of Garcia and Bjork as these two voices clash just a tiny bit on the tracks, providing them with an endearing edge that suits the release quite well – as one can hear on the aforementioned track “Planets 1 & 2” which is, coincidentally, the best cut of the album in my honest opinion as it signifies the groovy, heavy and laid-back attitude that this album virtually reeks of.

Despite having all odds against them, Vista Chino seems to be on their way to establishing an identity that is separate from what they initially seemed to set out for – in an ideal world, a Kyuss reunion would have worked perfectly and everyone would be stoked, but when the real world calls it’s nice to know that there is a band out there that has taken this legacy a bit further into the present, despite gazing heavily upon their glorified past and wondering about what could have been. I’d say this is a relatively solid first effort from Vista Chino.


Download: Planets 1&2, Acidize… The Gambling Moose, Sweet Remain
For The Fans Of: Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork and the Bros

Release Date 03.09.2013
Napalm Records

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