Vista Chino – Peace (Napalm Records)

Sunday, 6th October 2013
Rating: 8/10

The chances of a full-blown Kyuss reunion are slim and none…and slim just left town, much like the circus did in 1996. (Oh yeah!) We won’t dedicate much space to the legal squabbles between Josh Homme and his former bandmates, and frankly, they’re probably tired of talking about it too. So out goes Kyuss Lives! and in its place is Vista Chino, which is a snappy name; fun to say, and occasionally it makes one think of Deftones singer Chino Moreno, but it’s doesn’t soil anything. Peace happens to be the band’s debut offering and as expected, carries the Kyuss baton back to the desert.

Leading the charge is former Kyuss throat John Garcia and Brant Bjork, who are joined by the rotating bass spot of Mike Dean (COC) and Nick Oliveri. These names are familiar, but guitarist Bruno Fevery is a newcomer and is given the most difficult role of being the fuzz-driver. His tone (and heart) appear to be in the right spot, with those mothballed licks having their way on “Sweet Remain” and the easy-riding “Planets 1 & 2,” which ends up being the most melodic number in the lot. Elsewhere, the groovy patterns on “Adara” are instant hit, while the space-truckin’ “Dark and Lovely” should be a cut all the stoners get up and groove to.

Garcia still has his imitable vocals in place, probably with more interesting lyrics other than singing about dune buggies. The man has a lot of soul and personality, that’s for sure, so one can’t go wrong with thinking this is an extension of where Kyuss could have gone, perhaps with some more focus, less weed-induced jamming. Peace is just sweet rockin’.  Keep it going.