John Garcia – “John Garcia And The Band Of Gold” (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
The Kyuss legend and founder of desert rock institutions such as Unida, Slo-Burn, Hermano and Vista Chino is back! After 2 solo records and the “Coyote Unplugged“ tour, John Garcia has returned to doing what he does best – stripped no frills desert rock. A dryer, modern day successor to the backwater swamp rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Garcia brings his talent honed from almost 30 years through the instantly catchy, laid back grooves here. Not quite stoner to put you into a haze, there’s also elements of the blues, southern rock and tons of sass to keep you in motion through the 11 funky tracks here. With a focus on producing a rock out classic by keeping everything else loose and simple, Garcia has conjured another winner here, aided by the excellent production of none other than Chris Goss (Masters Of Reality, who’s also produced Kyuss and the Queens of the Stone Age). Partnered by the excellent guitar work of Ehren Groban whose string articulations are the perfect complement to Garcia’s wailing hippy vocals, be they in mud thick riffs, psychedelic grooves, dirty riffing, wailing melodies, feedback – man, this dude has it all! Not forgetting the pumping, heavy rhythm of Mike Pygmie’s bass and drummer Greg Saenz and you’ve got Garcia’s groove machine rolling across tracks like ‘Jim’s Whiskers’ with Garcia’s teasing vocals shaking alongside Groban’s slightly fuzzed out tones and his awesome funked out breaks before it all goes hell for Dixie toward the end – hell yeah! Through the thick fuzz on ‘My Everything’, the crucial grunge melodies are subtle, but when they rear their head on the chorus, it’s goddamn massive as Saenz smashes straight into your soul before Groban’s wailing but incredibly soulful guitar takes it to yet another crescendo high – instant addiction brother. With Pygmie’s rumbling bass to the fore on ‘Cheyletiella’ to pump out the groove, yet another colossal hard hitting chorus is brought to bear on the by now shredded listener, resonating powerfully through the trippy passage mid song as Groban’s southern fried guitar wails in the background before the initial stoked groove takes off once more. Striking gold yet again, John Garcia’s talents know no bounds, and here, on this mesmerising release he proves that simplicity is the essence.