John Garcia – “The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues” (Napalm Records)
Kyuss, Slo-Burn, Unida, Hermano, Vista Chino – all bands that at one time or another have featured the undeniable talents of desert rock crooner John Garcia. Long awaited since his last self titled solo record was released 3 years ago, “The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues” is yet another desert rock trip – far out in fact, considering it is an all acoustic album! Yessir, don’t be expecting (as if you could from Garcia) the genre’s associated style of tripped out vocals, fuzz soaked stoner guitar and heavy reverb drenched bass on the 9 tracks here. Then again (as if you would from Garcia), don’t be expecting no flower meadow either ha ha! The presence of guitar, bass and percussion is there, but Garcia has craftily toned it all down, stripped it of power so that its acoustic glory can be appreciated, along with his high n soulful vocals which unsurprisingly are prominent in the mix. So its very much still desert and even stoner rock, just a lite version in delivery although no less lacking in the high calibre of songs like the rollin’ hippy opener of ‘Kylie’ with its unforgettable chorus, the hippy cowpoke of ‘Space Cadet’, and not forgetting the powerfully building hippy folk groove of ‘The Hollingsworth Session‘. From Garcia’s own delicate and touching vocals to Ehren Groban’s excellent acoustic work frequently powering the strums, elsewhere tenderly plucking and at times flamboyantly Spanish like a dancing matador, it’s all displayed in this perfect performance. I can see why it’s taken the time to put out this release cos it’s instant addiction! Mike Pygmie’s bass is perfectly toned in its subtlety, always heard yet in a never-quite-there aspect while Greg Saenz’s percussions and rhythms add to the whole laid back, folk / psych atmosphere. It’s incredibly catchy material that creeps up and grows on you with no effort through its fluid grooves. This is true desert rock as if played in the desert, devoid of civilisation’s essentials like electricity, played instead by man steam under a starry sky with a lone coyote howling into the night.