John Garcia

John Garcia

Written by: EW on 11/07/2014 23:23:48

One of the peripheral benefits of being in a historic band is that your future ventures will always carry value and jump ahead in the queue for recognition against those featuring unheralded members. This point is worth considering when assessing the debut, self-titled album from John Garcia, he primarily of ex-Kyuss fame alongside lesser stints in Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano and Vista Chino, for this solo album is the audial equivalent of a week in alcohol rehab: dry, dull and a feeling of longing for past fun. The dull choice of album title emphasises how little spirit exists in the playing of the bunch of anonymous musicians behind John - this is all about him and godbedamned should the supporting cast play with any excitement in honour of his name. I took this record more out of a love for Kyuss than the stoner rock genre as a whole but if this is what the genre has descended to then I’m glad my involvement in it peaked with my purchase of Kyuss’ classic “Blues for the Red Sun” LP from a New York record store in 2002 (since you ask, alongside a purchase of “Reign in Blood” - a better pair of records has never been bought).

Of course I wouldn’t be writing this nor you reading it if wasn’t for Garcia’s vocal legacy and across these 11 tracks he sounds as cool and relaxed as ever. Too relaxed at times in the likes of “Rolling Stoned” and “Flower” where the tedious nature of the songs require greater gusto but the quality of his pure rock vocals has not wavered down the years. Lyrically the man remains as profound as an episode of Jerry Springer but musically where he was once the front to groove rocking constellations like “Thong Song”, “Thumb”, “Green Machine”, “100 Degrees”, “Big Bikes” (basically everything Kyuss wrote) they are now atop a feedback dirge like “Confusion”, Zeppelin-acoustic attempts in “Her Bullets Energy” (actually described as an “ultra-bouncer” in the press release. Words fail me.) and bored jam riffing in “My Mind”. Thankfully it isn’t this dull throughout the 44 minutes - “The Blvd”, “5000 Miles” and “All These Walls” are the best examples of a decent tempo being found in what still remain fantastically uninspiring songs structurally but at least I can tolerate listening to these ones more than the aforementioned low points.

Essentially “John Garcia” is a simple exercise in muscle-flexing from a vocalist whose reputation was sealed in the 90s and has since shown no desire to embrace any musical challenges, instead revisiting the desert rock sound with good (Unida), average (Hermano) and crap (this) results. I can imagine any guitarist worth his salt would consciously hold back his best riffs for another outlet with a greater potential for individual recognition than this record, one which apparently special guests the talents of Danko Jones, Nick Oliveri and Robby Krieger from The Doors among others, although you’d be hard-pressed to know it. Consequently I add this to a pile, also consisting of Maiden’s Steve Harris’ shocking 2012 solo album, entitled ‘QUIT THIS SOLO SHIT’.


Download: The Blvd, 5000 Miles
For The Fans Of: Kyuss/Unida/Hermano minus the excitement
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.08.2014
Napalm Records

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